Modified TandemHeart Ventricular Assist Device for Infant and Pediatric Circulatory Support

Kulat B.T.; Russell, H. M.; Sarwark, A. E.; R. Zingle N; Moss, S. T.; Monge, M. C.; Backer, C. L.

Ann Thorac Surg. 2014 Oct 6; 98(4):1437-1441


PURPOSE: The development of pediatric ventricular assist device (VAD) circuits with lower flow ranges for infants and small children is ongoing. We present our results with modifying a readily available adult VAD to support the pediatric population. DESCRIPTION: The TandemHeart VAD (CardiacAssist, Pittsburgh, PA) circuit was modified to include a variable restrictive recirculation shunt to permit lower flow ranges in small pediatric patients. EVALUATION: Initial benchtop flow rates and pressures were studied. Hemolysis trials were performed using whole bovine blood to compare plasma-free hemoglobin levels between modified and unmodified VAD circuits. The modified VAD was surgically implanted in 7 piglets (6 to 14 kg) and which supported them for 4 hours. Levels of hemolysis did not increase and full hemodynamic support was achieved. The modified TandemHeart VAD with a recirculation shunt was subsequently implanted in 2 pediatric patients who were bridged to transplant successfully. CONCLUSIONS: Because of its simplicity, availability, low prime volume, greater patient flow range, and lower cost, the modified TandemHeart VAD with a recirculation shunt should be considered as an alternative to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and other pulsatile VADs in children.

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