Article of the Week


We will be posting commentaries on articles relating to internal medicine and endocrinology that we think are of interest.


April 7th 2021

Left atrial decompression as a palliative minimally invasive treatment for congestive heart failure caused by myxomatous mitral valve disease in dogs: 17 cases (2018-2019)


Objective: To determine whether left atrial decompression (LAD) would reduce left atrial pressure (LAP) in dogs with advanced myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) and left-sided congestive heart failure (CHF) and to describe the LAD procedure and hemodynamic alterations and complications.

Animals: 17 dogs with advanced MMVD and left-sided CHF that underwent LAD.

Procedures: The medical record database was retrospectively reviewed for all LAD procedures attempted in dogs with MMVD and left-sided CHF between October 2018 and June 2019. Data were collected regarding signalment (age, breed, weight, and sex), clinical signs, treatment, physical examination findings, and diagnostic testing before and after LAD. Procedural data were also collected including approach, technique, hemodynamic data, complications, and outcome.


Results: 18 LAD procedures performed in 17 patients were identified. Dogs ranged in age from 7.5 to 16 years old (median, 11 years) and ranged in body weight from 2.9 to 11.6 kg (6.4 to 25.5 lb) with a median body weight of 7.0 kg (15.4 lb). Minimally invasive creation of an atrial septal defect for the purpose of LAD was successful in all dogs without any intraoperative deaths. Before LAD, mean LAP was elevated and ranged from 8 to 32 mm Hg with a median value of 14 mm Hg (reference value, < 10 mm Hg). Following LAD, there was a significant decrease in mean LAP (median decrease of 6 mm Hg [range, 1 to 15 mm Hg]). Survival time following LAD ranged from 0 to 478 days (median, 195 days).


Conclusions and clinical relevance: For dogs with advanced MMVD and left-sided CHF, LAD resulted in an immediate and substantial reduction in LAP

J Am Vet Med Assoc 2021 Mar 15;258(6):638-647. doi: 10.2460/javma.258.6.638.