Fueled by the uncertainty and the time required to obtain a donor heart, mechanical circulatory support (MCS) forms an essential part of end-stage heart failure. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) use is limited to a few days before serious complications like bleeding occur. Prolonged support in terms of ventricular assist device (VAD) as a bridge to transplantation (BTT) became mandatory to overcome death on the waiting list. Within the last decade, VADs in adults have evolved drastically with the introduction of continuous flow (cf) devices. Increased miniaturization of VADs and new support strategies have increased its use in the pediatric population even in small children and patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). Nevertheless, patient and device selection in this patient population remain challenging to achieve optimal outcome and decrease complication rates. This comes with the need for care providers specialized in this field. Size issues and anatomical diversity make decision making complex and unique when compared to general adult practice. Neonates with single ventricle physiology are the highest risk candidates for VADs. This chapter reviews the most relevant durable VADs used in children including the rapid evolution of using adult designed cf-VADs to support children with anatomical normal hearts and CHD.
Part of the book: Heart Transplantation