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Z Kardiol. 2000 Nov;89(11):1039-45.

[Artificial heart in terminal stage of dilated cardiomyopathy in childhood].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Abteilung für angeborene Herzfehler Kinderkardiologie Deutsches Herzzentrum Augustenburger Platz 1 D-13353 Berlin.


In children with dilated cardiomyopathy the disease may progress so rapidly that they die during the waiting period before a suitable donor organ is found. Fifteen children of 4 months to 15 years of age had been in congestive heart failure with multiorgan failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy, where intensive medical treatment had failed. After resuscitation, a miniaturized pulsatile ventricular assist device for the mechanical replacement of heart function was implanted. The biventricular assist device ("Berlin Heart") consists of two extracorporeal pneumatically driven polyurethane blood pumps, with a multi-layer flexible membrane that separates a blood and an air chamber. Four silicon cannulae connect the blood pumps to the patient. A three-leaflet valve prevents blood reflux. The pumps are driven by a pulsatile electropneumatic system. In 12 of the 15 children the bridging to transplantation was successful with a support time of 1 to 98 days (mean 24 days). Nine of them were extubated and mobilized while assisted. Three children died during the support time due to hemorrhage, sepsis, and pulmonary failure. In addition, there was one infarction of the arteria cerebri media. To date seven of the transplanted children are in good condition on follow-up. The beneficial effects of ventricular assist device use are well known in adult patients and with special devices it can be transferred to infants and children in whom longer need for support is anticipated. Even in small infants it is an effective method for bridging to cardiac transplantation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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