Multicenter experience with the thoratec ventricular assist device in children and adolescents

Olaf Reinhartz, Fraser M. Keith, Aly El-Banayosy, Lawrence R. McBride, Robert C. Robbins, Jack G. Copeland, David J. Farrar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Background: Patient size is 1 determinant in selecting a mechanical circulatory support device. The current pulsatile ventricular assist devices (VADs) were designed primarily for average-sized adults. The flexibility of the Thoratec VAD, however, has encouraged physicians to use it in a significant number of intermediate-sized older children and adolescents. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study in 58 children and adolescents <18 years (41 boys, 17 girls) who had been supported with the Thoratec VAD in 27 centers worldwide as of December 1999. Mean patient age was 13.8 years (range, 7 to 17 years), and mean patient weight and body surface area were 51.6 kg (range, 17 to 93 kg) and 1.5 m2 (range, 0.7 to 2.1 m2), respectively. Results: Thirty-five patients (60%) survived to transplantation and 6 (10%) to recovery of the native heart, respectively; 38 were discharged from the hospital (66%). In the transplanted group, post-transplantation survival was 97%. Patient age and size were not associated with significantly increased risk for death or adverse events. Fifteen patients (27%) had 18 neurologic events during support, and 6 of these were fatal. Left atrial cannulation proved a risk factor for neurologic complications. Conclusions: The Thoratec VAD has successfully been used in a large number of children and adolescents with similar morbidity and mortality results as with adults. The risk of neurologic complications may be increased, particularly in patients cannulated in the left atria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation


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