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Mechanical circulatory support in cardiogenic shock

Karl Werdan, Stephan Gielen, Henning Ebelt, Judith S. Hochman
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/eht248 156-167 First published online: 7 September 2013


Despite advances in coronary revascularization and widespread use of primary percutaneous interventions, cardiogenic shock complicating an acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (CSMI) remains a clinical challenge with high mortality rates. Conservative management with catecholamines is associated with serious limitations, including arrhythmias, increased myocardial oxygen consumption, and inadequate circulatory support. Clinicians have therefore turned to mechanical means of circulatory support. Circulatory assist systems for CSMI can be distinguished by the method of placement (i.e. percutaneous vs. surgical), the type of circulatory support (i.e. left ventricular, right ventricular, or biventricular pressure and/or volume unloading), and whether they are combined with extracorporal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The percutaneous assist systems most commonly used in CSMI are the intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP), venoarterial ECMO, the Impella pump, and the TandemHeart. Decades of clinical studies and experience demonstrated haemodynamic improvement, including elevation of diastolic perfusion pressure and cardiac output. Recently, the large randomized IABP-Shock II Trial did not show a significant reduction in 30-day mortality in CSMI with IABP insertion. There are no randomized study data available for ECMO use in CSMI. Both the Impella pump and the TandemHeart did not reduce 30-day mortality when compared with IABP in small randomized controlled trials (RCTs). In conclusion, despite the need for effective mechanical circulatory support in CSMI, current devices, as tested, have not been demonstrated to improve short- or long-term survival rates. RCTs testing the optimal timing of device therapy and optimal device design are needed to improve outcomes in CSMI.

  • Cardiogenic shock
  • Left ventricular assist devices
  • Mortality
  • APACHE II score
  • Interleukin 6 (IL-6)
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