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ASAIO J. 2013 Sep-Oct;59(5):537-41. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0b013e31829e66d7.

First Berlin heart EXCOR pediatric VAD interhospital transports of nonambulatory patients with the Ikus stationary driver.

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Artificial Heart Program, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Ventricular assist devices (VADs) are increasingly being used in pediatric patients to support cardiac failure. As more centers adopt this technology, there may be a need to transport these patients over long distances to facilitate patient care and organ transplantation. Food and Drug Administration indications for use state only that the patient must be a candidate for transplantation and does not place restrictions on the transplant capabilities of the implanting medical center. Nontransplanting institutions are able to use this technology with a predetermined agreement to transfer the patient to a partnering transplant center. We report the first two cases of interhospital air and ground transport of nonambulatory or intubated pediatric (<13 kg) patients supported by Berlin Heart EXCOR pediatric VADs and Ikus stationary drivers. We present our protocol for transporting this delicate patient population. In addition, we discuss important challenges encountered on these operations regarding vehicle transfers and the management of vehicle power supply. These two cases demonstrate that the transportation of pediatric patients on Berlin Heart VADs is feasible and safe and should be considered a treatment option in certain situations.

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