Ventricular assist device-specific infections

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Ventricular assist device (VAD)-specific infections, in particular, driveline infections, are a concerning complication of VAD implantation that often results in significant morbidity and even mortality. The presence of a percutaneous driveline at the skin exit-site and in the subcutaneous tunnel allows biofilm formation and migration by many bacterial and fungal pathogens. Biofilm formation is an important microbial strategy, providing a shield against antimicrobial treatment and human immune responses; biofilm migration facilitates the extension of infection to deeper tissues such as the pump pocket and the bloodstream. Despite the introduction of multiple preventative strategies, driveline infections still occur with a high prevalence of ~10-20% per year and their treatment outcomes are frequently unsatisfactory. Clinical diagnosis, prevention and management of driveline infections are being targeted to specific microbial pathogens grown as biofilms at the driveline exit-site or in the driveline tunnel. The purpose of this review is to improve the understanding of VAD-specific infections, from basic “bench” knowledge to clinical “bedside” experience, with a specific focus on the role of biofilms in driveline infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number453
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Biofilms
  • Driveline infections
  • Driveline tunnel
  • Epidemiology
  • Exit-site
  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Ventricular assist device

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