Feature | August 03, 2011

Texas Children's Hospital Explants VAD, Sends Heart Failure Teen Home With a Healed Heart

August 3, 2011 — Texas Children's Hospital (TCH) is the nation's first pediatric hospital to both surgically implant and later explant a mechanical ventricular assist device (VAD) inside the chest of a teen with chronic heart failure. The procedure acted as a bridge to recovery, avoiding heart transplantation.

The patient, 15-year-old David Rios, returned to his home in south Texas with a healed heart after spending seven months at TCH recovering from a life-threatening heart illness.

"This is a giant leap in the care of children with heart failure. David is the first patient with chronic heart failure at any pediatric hospital to have his heart healed by using an intracorporeal mechanical heart assist device," said David L.S. Morales, M.D., pediatric cardiovascular surgeon at Texas Children's Heart Center, who performed both the surgical implant and explant procedures on Rios. "The device has allowed David's heart to return to normal function and we couldn't be happier with the outcome," said Morales, also associate professor of surgery and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM).

Rios recovered from the surgical removal very quickly. Within two days, he left the cardiac intensive care unit.  He resumed his physical therapy and advanced rapidly with an ability to exercise better than he had done with the device. His medical team measured his progress once a month and found that his heart was getting stronger each time. Early on, he was able to walk 700 yards in six minutes. Echocardiograms and other tests showed that his heart was restored to normal function.

By early July, doctors felt he could return to his home in the Rio Grande Valley.  They recommended that he see a cardiologist there for a baseline follow-up. Then he will return to TCH in six months so doctors there can re-evaluate his heart.

David Rios’ Journey to a Healed Heart

Rios was hospitalized on Aug. 23, 2010 with osteomyelitis, a staph-resistant bone infection in his hip. The infection caused septic shock and led to multiple organ failure of his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. He was intubated and on a ventilator when he was transferred to Texas Children's Hospital from the Rio Grande Valley on Sept. 27, 2010. His prognosis was dire.

Heart Center specialists treated Rios to stabilize and restore his organ functions. Even months after his other organs recovered, he remained on the ventilator and in severe heart failure. His cardiac team agreed that he might benefit from a heart-assist device that could improve his circulation to other organs as a bridge to transplant. Morales and his surgical team implanted a HeartMate II on Nov. 29, 2010.  

"David's condition improved dramatically once he experienced better cardiac circulation," said Jeffrey Dreyer, M.D., medical director of heart transplantation at Texas Children's Heart Center and associate professor of pediatrics (cardiology) at BCM. "As the medical team monitored his recovery, we realized that David, who really did not suffer from long-standing heart failure or a congenital heart defect, might be a good candidate for recovery and removal of his device."

After being implanted with the heart pump, Rios' overall condition improved as he worked with physical therapists on a regimen to build his stamina and endurance. In early January 2011, Rios was able to leave the hospital and move to a nearby residence wearing the HeartMate II. Immediately, he experienced a more normal teen life of movies, walks in the park, shopping and meals with his family. But he returned to the hospital twice a week for physical therapy and monthly follow-up exams to gauge his progress.

By mid-May, the medical team decided Rios' heart had recovered to normal function and on May 24, 2011 Morales surgically explanted the HeartMate II.

"This has been an amazing journey for David," said Morales. "The device not only saved his life, but it healed his heart and spared him from needing heart transplantation at this time. This is only one of the reasons that the heart failure team at Texas Children's is committed to using a variety of mechanical devices that can save the lives of babies and older children."  

Morales noted the mechanical circulatory support team at Texas Children's Heart Center uses six different types of heart-assist devices in treating pediatric heart patients, the most of any pediatric hospital in the nation. He believes that having experience with a variety of devices helps individualize heart support for each child, taking their size and cause of heart failure into account.

For more information: www.texaschildrens.org

To watch a video of Rios’ journey to a healed heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vjSZXWhCaI

Related Content

Medtronic HeartWare HVAD System Approved for Destination Therapy
Technology | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | October 04, 2017
October 4, 2017 — Medtronic received U.S.
Abiomed Receives FDA PMA Approval for Impella RP for Right Heart Failure
Technology | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | September 28, 2017
Abiomed Inc. recently received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pre-market approval (PMA) for the Impella RP ...
Abbott Receives FDA Approval for HeartMate 3 Left Ventricular Assist System
Technology | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | August 29, 2017
Abbott announced it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its Full MagLev HeartMate 3 Left...
Pre-PCI Impella 2.5 Insertion Improves Survival in Left Main Coronary Artery Heart Attacks
News | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | June 30, 2017
Abiomed Inc. announced the recent publication of a peer-reviewed retrospective study on hemodynamic support with the...
Heartware HVAD recall for its ventricular assist device from Medtronic
Feature | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | May 05, 2017
May 5, 2017 — Medtronic Mechanical Circulatory Support is expanding its recall of its HeartWare Ventricular Assist De
Videos | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | April 14, 2017
A discussion with William O'Neill, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, medical director of the Center for Structural Heart Disease at
Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit Cardiogenic Shock Initiative, Impella pump, ACC.17 clinical study
News | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | April 03, 2017
Hospitals can dramatically increase heart attack survival rates in patients suffering cardiogenic shock by providing...
Metro Detroit cardiologists, increased heart attack survival rate, Impella heart pump, Detroit Cardiogenic Shock Initiative
News | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | March 09, 2017
Metro Detroit cardiologists from five health systems have joined together to increase residents’ survival rate from...
Impella 2.5 heart pump, high-risk PCI, HRPCI, acute kidney injury risk, AKI, Circulation Research study, Abiomed
News | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | March 09, 2017
A new study published in Circulation Research finds use of hemodynamic support with the Impella 2.5 heart pump during...
James Ward, LVAD surgery, left ventricular assist device, UAB, University of Alabama at Birmingham
News | Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) | March 08, 2017
Congestive heart failure patients at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) now have reason for optimism with a...
Overlay Init