Continuous flow-left ventricular assist devices (CF-LVADs) have become a therapeutic option in the management of advanced heart failure. Several studies show that patients with CF-LVAD are at an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB). However, few reports have presented the characteristics of GIB in Japanese populations. We investigated the incidence, etiology, and outcome of GIB in patients with CF-LVAD. Records of adult patients who received CF-LVADs between October 2008 and January 2017 were reviewed. GIB was defined as detection of bleeding sites by any type of diagnostic imaging. 54 patients received CF-LVAD, of which eight (14%) presented with overt GIB (12 events). GIB patients are significantly older (p = 0.04) and their pre-operative inferior vena cava diameter was larger (p = 0.02). Multivariate analysis revealed that the use of Jarvik 2000 (p = 0.003) was a risk factor for GIB. In total, 85.8% of patients were free from GIB at 1 year. The most common site was the small intestine (67%). The most common cause was angiodysplasia (50%). Six patients required blood transfusion (nine events) and four underwent endoscopic clippings (five events); however, no patients needed surgeries. The incidence of GIB in our cohort was similar to the global registry data. Double balloon endoscopy is useful for diagnosis and treatment of small intestinal lesions. Future efforts to further understand the incidence of GIB in Japanese populations by multicenter data are needed.
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