Background: Despite the remarkable advances with the use of ventricular assist devices (VAD) in adults, pneumatic pulsatile support in children is still limited. We report a retrospective review of our experience in very small children (2. Three patients required biventricular mechanical support, but in all other cases a single left VAD proved sufficient. The median duration of VAD support was 61 days (2 to 168 days). Four deaths occurred; from stroke in three and sepsis in one. Five patients were successfully bridged to heart transplantation after a median duration of mechanical support of 89 days (37 to 168 days) and another is still waiting a suitable organ after 77 days of VAD support. There were no complications related to postoperative bleeding. Five patients required at least one pump change. Of 5 patients undergoing heart transplant, 3 developed an extremely elevated (>60%) panel reactive antibody by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, confirmed by Luminex (Luminex Corp, Austin, TX). All 3 experienced at least one acute episode of rejection in the first month after heart transplant, needing plasmapheresis. The survival rate after heart transplantation was 100% with a median follow-up of 7.5 months. Conclusions: Mechanical support in very small children with end-stage heart failure is an effective strategy of bridge to heart transplantation with a reasonable mortality rate. The high rate of complications suggests to optimize indications and timing of VAD implantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine