Infection is a serious potential complication after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation. In general, infection of the device pocket, with device exposure, should be managed by early device removal and heart transplantation. However, because of the small number of donors in Japan, accelerating access to heart transplantation is often difficult and the LVAD can be widely exposed during the waiting period. We report our experience of successful heart transplantation in a patient with a widely exposed LVAD with pocket infection. A 48-year-old man suffered from heart failure due to idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. An LVAD was implanted, but postoperative infection led to blood pump exposure. Heart transplantation was performed 4 months after LVAD exposure, at which time the epigastric skin defect measured 14 × 8 cm. The skin defect could not be closed after heart transplantation, so it was covered by an omental flap with split-thickness skin grafts. 7 days postoperatively, the peritoneal suture broke and the intestinal tract prolapsed outside the body. Reintroduction of the prolapsed intestinal tract and deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEP) flap coverage of the omental flap were performed. The postoperative course was uneventful. There have been no reports of the management of wide skin defects in the presence of infection when heart transplantation is performed. Omental flap placement was useful for controlling long-lasting infection. An omental flap placed in a patient with a wide epigastric skin defect should be covered by durable skin flap, such as a DIEP flap, to avoid intestinal prolapse.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine