Texan child receives world's first scaled-down heart pump or child ventricular assist device

A six-year-old Texas Children's Hospital patient is the first pediatric patient in the world to receive a MicroMed/DeBakey® child ventricular assist device (VAD), recently approved by the FDA for use in children. The new, scaled-down heart pump improves blood flow for patients awaiting heart transplants.

“The new procedure is a medical breakthrough in pediatric cardiac care,” said Dr. Charles D. Fraser Jr., the chief of cardiovascular surgery at Texas Children's Heart Center, who performed the surgery.  “It gives new hope for children with failing hearts because they now have potential to wait longer for hearts to become available for transplants. Until now, the temporary VADs available for use only gave us a very limited timeframe for a heart to become available.”

Houston resident Anna Grudziecke, whose cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle, caused a rapid deterioration of her heart, underwent surgery on Friday, March 26, at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. The surgery took approximately four hours.  

Added benefits of this device include reduced surgery time and increased mobility.

“Today’s surgery is a critical development in the advancement of the field,” said Fraser, who also is a professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine.  “I’m thrilled that our team was able to be a part of this milestone.  We know that these types of devices will be vital to improving the lives of many children who otherwise would have no options.”

Texas Children’s Heart Center is a self-contained pediatric heart treatment facility within Texas Children's Hospital. Its unique design provides a single point of care including examinations, echocardiography, heart catheterization, congenital heart surgery and intensive care. This special setting enhances continuum and delivery of care. The Heart Center sees more than 12,000 patients and performs more than 600 surgeries annually.

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