Technical Brief

Acoustic Signatures of Left Ventricular Assist Device Thrombosis

[+] Author and Article Information
Priyesh Patel

Duke University Medical Center and WakeMed Heart Center, 3000 New Bern Avenue, Suite 1200, Raleigh, NC 27610

Boyla Mainsah

Duke University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University, 130 Hudson Hall, Durham, NC 27708

Carmelo Milano

Duke University Medical Center, Box 3043, Durham, NC 27710

Douglas Nowacek

Duke University Marine Laboratory, 135 Duke Marine Lab Road, Beaufort, NC 28516

Leslie Collins

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University, 130 Hudson Hall, Durham, NC 27708

Ravi Karra

Duke University Medical Center, Box 3126, Durham, NC 27710

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041529 History: Received June 12, 2018; Revised September 14, 2018


Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are life-saving, surgically-implanted mechanical heart pumps that treat advanced heart failure caused by a weakened heart muscle. LVADs are being increasingly utilized, with greater than 2,500 implanted yearly in the United States alone. While life-saving, the therapy is associated with a large incidence of complications, so early recognition and management of LVAD complications is of paramount importance. Blood clot formation within the LVAD, known as LVAD thrombosis, is a catastrophic complication of LVAD therapy that often requires LVAD exchange due to delayed diagnosis and treatment. Using digital stethoscopes, we identified important differences in acoustic spectra from two patients presenting with LVAD thrombosis compared with normally functioning LVAD pumps within the same patient. Importantly, these acoustic changes were present even in the absence of typical signs of heart failure that are often present in LVAD thrombosis patients. Hence, acoustic spectral analysis of digital stethoscope signals could be developed into a remote surveillance strategy for early detection of LVAD complications.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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