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Crit Care Nurs Q. 2007 Apr-Jun;30(2):121-42.

Mechanical circulatory support for the pediatric patient.

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  • 1Center for Clinical and Outcomes Research, Congenital Heart Surgery Service, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


In adult patients, mechanical circulatory support (MCS) devices are part of the standard of care for heart failure. There are several options available that clinicians may use to provide support for their patients and thus the choice of devices can be tailored to their individual needs. Unfortunately, this is not the case for pediatric patients with heart failure, where the options for MCS modalities are far more limited because of size constraints and regulatory hurdles. Furthermore, the pathophysiology of heart failure in children is not identical to that of adults; thus, the device selection and configuration require different considerations. Management of pediatric patients on MCS requires a highly specialized team of pediatric professionals. The nurse caring for a child on MCS is an active participant in all aspects of the patient's care and must have an in-depth understanding of the patient's underlying physiology, the circulatory physiology of the MCS system, the reason for mechanical support, and the goal of support.

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