Case Report|Articles in Press

Driveline erosion of the colon as a late complication of LVAD implantation

Published:February 09, 2023DOI:


      A 69-year-old man with ischemic cardiomyopathy underwent left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation as destination therapy. One month after LVAD placement, the patient reported abdominal pain with driveline site purulence. Serial wound and blood cultures were positive for various Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms. Abdominal imaging revealed a possible intracolonic course of the driveline at the splenic flexure, but there were no imaging findings suggestive of bowel perforation. A colonoscopy did not identify a perforation. The patient was treated with antibiotics but continued to experience driveline infections over the next 9 months until frank stool started draining from the driveline exit site. Our case illustrates driveline erosion of the colon causing the insidious formation of an enterocutaneous fistula and highlights a rare late complication of LVAD therapy.

      Learning objective

      Colonic erosion by the driveline can cause enterocutaneous fistula formation over a period of months. A change from typical infectious organisms for driveline infection should prompt investigation of a gastrointestinal source. In cases where computed tomography of the abdomen does not show perforation and there is concern for an intracolonic course of the driveline, colonoscopy or laparoscopy may be diagnostic.


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