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Pump Flow Setting and Assessment of Unloading in Clinical Practice

The rationale for mechanical circulatory support (MCS) in cardiogenic shock is to restore cardiac output in selected patients when critically low or in case of refractory cardiac arrest. Furthermore, an MCS device that moves blood from either the left atrium or the left ventricle to the systemic circulation will potentially unload the ventricle. These devices are used alone or in combination with venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO). If a left-sided Impella device is used, it should be run at the highest possible performance level during treatment while avoiding suction events. When combined with VA-ECMO, the Impella device should be run at a lower performance level, ensuring sufficient left ventricular emptying but avoiding suction. Continuous monitoring is pivotal and patients managed outside the catheterization laboratory should be monitored with an arterial line, a central venous catheter, frequent use of pulmonary artery catheters and regular imaging by transthoracic echocardiogram.

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