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Ventricular Assist Devices Help Kids Awaiting Transplant

Outcomes are comparable to those not requiring devices

MONDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- Ventricular assist devices can help children with congenital heart disease or cardiomyopathy survive until heart transplantation surgery, according to a report in the May 16 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Elizabeth D. Blume, M.D., from Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues used 1993 through 2003 data on 2,375 children at multiple institutions to analyze the outcomes of those receiving ventricular assist devices (VAD) after being listed for heart transplantation. The median age of the children was 13.3 years.

The investigators found that VAD provided a successful bridge to transplantation for 77 percent of patients, and for over 85 percent of patients from 2000 to 2003. The five-year survival rates after transplantation were comparable for patients not requiring VAD. Risk factors for death while waiting for transplantation included an earlier year of implantation, diagnosis of congenital heart disease and being female.

"These encouraging results emphasize the need to further understand patient selection and to further delineate the impact of VAD technology and its associated adverse events within the pediatric end-stage heart failure population," the authors conclude.

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