Mechanical Circulatory Support
Mechanical circulatory support is the use of heart pumps to support the failing heart when medications are no longer sufficient. In children, mechanical circulatory support is typically used to maintain patients in a stable condition in order to receive a heart transplantation. Occasionally, mechanical circulatory support is used as a long-term support without the goal of transplantation. There are a variety of different devices (VADs) which can be used for mechanical circulatory support, depending upon the circumstances.
The mechanical circulatory support program for children, which is a part of the PACT program, has among the highest volume of VAD implantations for children in the United States, and has a long record of innovation and excellent outcomes. The program currently uses the Berlin Heart EXCOR, Heartware HVAD, and Thoratec Heartmate II. We participate in the national pediatric VAD registry, Pedimacs, with the goal of pooling knowledge about children supported with VADs to accelerate improvement in care. We have been leaders in supporting the safe discharge from the hospital of pediatric VAD patients, and their re-integration into their communities. For those children who must remain hospitalized while awaiting transplantation, we have a comprehensive range of support services including physical therapy, and participation in age-appropriate schooling.