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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2013 May;32(5):569-73. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2013.01.1056. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Antithrombotic strategies in children receiving long-term Berlin Heart EXCOR ventricular assist device therapy.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. jennifer.rutledge@albertahealthservices.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Thromboembolic events while receiving ventricular assist device (VAD) support remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality despite standard anti-coagulation and anti-platelet therapies. The use of bivalirudin and epoprostenol infusions as an alternate anti-thrombotic (AT) regimen in pediatric VAD patients was reviewed.

METHODS:

This was a retrospective record review of 6 pediatric patients (aged ≤17 years) at 2 institutions treated with bivalirudin and epoprostenol infusions while being supported with the Berlin Heart EXCOR (Berlin Heart GmbH, Berlin, Germany) VAD.

RESULTS:

Six patients (age, 0.8-14 years; weight, 6.7-29.7 kg) were treated. Diagnoses included cardiomyopathy in 2 and congenital heart disease in 4. VAD support was left VAD in 2 and bi-VAD in 4, with duration of support of 21 to 155 days. Three patients required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation before VAD support. Bivalirudin/epoprostenol was used after recurrent thromboses on conventional medication in 3 patients, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia in 2, and in 1 patient considered high risk with a prosthetic mitral valve. The bivalirudin dose was titrated to partial thromboplastin time (PTT) of 1.5- to 2-times baseline (0.1-0.8 mg/kg/hour); the epoprostenol dose was 2 to 10 ng/kg/min. Additional anti-platelet agents included acetylsalicylic acid, dipyridamole, and clopidogrel in 5 patients each. No bleeding complications occurred. One patient sustained a cerebrovascular infarct on therapy, with subsequent complete recovery. No other complications occurred. Five patients underwent successful transplantation, and 1 patient died of multisystem organ failure.

CONCLUSIONS:

This report provides data on estimated safety and efficacy of bivalirudin and epoprostenol as an AT strategy in pediatric patients on extended VAD support. The short drug half-life and predictable AT response facilitated conversion to standard AT regimens at the time of transplantation (heparin-induced thrombocytopenia-negative patients). These agents should be considered for management of pediatric VAD patients when standard regimens fail.

PMID:
23465252
DOI:
10.1016/j.healun.2013.01.1056
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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