BERLIN, May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The 500th patient was supported with the Berlin Heart EXCOR® Pediatric Ventricular Assist Device (also known as the "Berlin Heart") since the first implantation of the device in 1990. The patient, an 11-month-old girl, received the device at the Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago and has been successfully transplanted in the meantime.
Alejandra had been diagnosed a few weeks after birth with left ventricular non compaction and dilative cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the heart muscle to enlarge and weaken. From six months of age, she received medications for her heart disease, but as she progressively worsened, she had to be placed on the waiting list for a donor heart. She presented to Dr. Elfriede Pahl, medical director of heart transplantation at Children's Memorial Hospital, with a respiratory infection and required mechanical ventilation.
Alejandra was placed on ECMO, a modified version of a heart-lung machine, on 2 January 2009, but rapidly deteriorated. "She was difficult to support on ECMO with a good deal of bleeding and relatively poor systemic perfusion," recalls Dr. Jeffrey Gossett, Alejandra's cardiologist. "As a result we needed to continue paralysis and were unable to feed her well."
By the time she received the Berlin Heart EXCOR Pediatric VAD, she had spent 38 days on mechanical ventilation and three days on ECMO. Alejandra's mother recalls, "We were devastated and very anxious. We had to hope for a miracle to help Alejandra."
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About EXCOR® Pediatric
The EXCOR Pediatric Ventricular Assist Device is a mechanical cardiac support system for critically ill pediatric patients suffering from severe heart failure. EXCOR Pediatric has been used in more than 500 pediatric patients worldwide ranging from newborns with 2.2 kg body weight to teenagers. EXCOR is currently under clinical investigation for pediatric patients in USA.
About Berlin Heart
Berlin Heart GmbH is the only company worldwide that develops, produces, and distributes implantable and external ventricular assist devices (also called mechanical heart support systems) for patients of every age and body size. The company is market leader in Germany and Europe.
The company also manufactures the implantable left ventricular assist device INCOR®, which has been designed for long-term application in adult patients. The longest the device has supported a patient so far is more than five and a half years and ongoing. INCOR is not FDA approved, but widely used in Europe.
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