MI - Surgeons at the University
of Michigan Health System successfully implanted a miniature
heart pump in the first American child and the youngest patient
in the world, ever to receive the device.
January 30, 2003 a team of pediatric cardiac surgeons performed
the implant of the DeBakey ventricular assist device (VAD) in a
10 year old girl. Three days later she celebrated her 11th birthday.
After waiting to see how she did in the first days after the operation,
the surgical team is calling the procedure a success!
Now the patient
remains on the heart transplant waiting list, with her condition
much improved by the device's heart-assisting action. "The
surgery lasted about six hours and went extremely well," says
Devaney, M.D., the pediatric cardiac surgeon who led the surgery.
"This is our first case using the DeBakey heart pump and I'm
glad we were able to help this little girl. The device should sustain
her health until she can receive a heart transplant."
The young patient
suffers from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that
has placed her on the heart transplant list for the past month.
Her doctors feared she may not live long enough to receive a new
heart - that's why they decided to implant the DeBakey heart pump.
VAD is a heart assist pump designed for end-stage heart failure
patients who are waiting for a heart transplant. It is implanted
in the chest cavity and is attached to the heart and helps pump
blood from the left ventricle up the aorta and to the body. Measuring
at 1 inch by 3 inches and weighing only four ounces, the DeBakey
VAD is approximately one-tenth the size of the heart-assist devices
currently on the market, making it a viable option for the young
this patient is so young her body was not big enough to handle the
heart pump we usually use for older patients," says Devaney.
"The DeBakey device was small enough yet high powered enough
to help her." Devaney notes that the U-M has extensive experience
in implanting heart-assist devices, including the nation's third
most active Heartmate LVAD program.
the patient's new heart pump is greatly improving her quality of
life, but her battle isn't over yet. "She still needs a new
heart," says Devaney. "The heart pump has significantly
increased her chance at life. But the ultimate goal is getting her
a new heart."
the DeBakey VAD is in a phase III clinical trial in the United States.
It received certification in May 2001 to begin commercialization
It's made by
MicroMed Technology, Inc., a privately held company that develops
products to help patients suffering from congestive heart failure.
The company's headquarters are in Houston, Texas. For more information
on MicroMed Technology, Inc. and the DeBakey VAD, go to www.micromedtech.com.
by: Carrie Hagen
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