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Background: The optimal treatment for advanced heart failure (HF) patients with regards to mortality remains unknown. Heart transplantation (HTx) and left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) used either as a bridge to transplant (BTT) or destination therapy (DT) have been compared in a number of studies, without definite conclusions with regards to mortality benefit. We sought to systematically review the pertinent literature and perform a meta-analysis of all the available studies presenting head-to-head comparisons between HTx and LVAD BTT or LVAD DT for late (>6 months) all-cause mortality. Methods: We performed a systematic search of Medline and Cochrane Central databases in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. We conducted a meta-analysis of late mortality comparing HTx vs. BTT LVAD and HTx vs. DT LVAD using a random effects model. Results: Eight studies were included in our meta-analysis, reporting data on 7,957 patients in total. Although the available studies are of high quality [8 stars in Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) on average], there is paucity of mortality data. Specifically, seven studies compared HTx with BTT and five studies compared HTx with DT for 1-year mortality. Our pooled estimates showed that there was no difference in late mortality among these strategies. Conclusions: Our meta-analysis highlights the small number and the heterogeneity of available studies referring to the optimal invasive management of advanced HF, and shows that there are no differences between HTx and LVAD for these patients with regards to late mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Cardiothorac Surg

Publication Date





3 - 11


Heart failure (HF), bridge to transplantation (BTT), heart transplantation (HTx), left ventricular assist devices (LVAD)