News | December 07, 2008

TandemHeart Played a Critical Role in Saving Teen’s Life

December 8, 2008 - There has been much discussion in recent weeks of the 14-year-old patient from Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami living without a heart for more than 100 days, but what has not been reported are the facts behind the struggle as to how initially and immediately treat the young patient in post-transplant failure.

This patient was fairing so poorly that she could not be weaned from cardio pulmonary bypass. She faced great odds of expiring and was not in any condition to immediately endure a complicated surgical BiVAD insertion or another transplant, even if another organ was immediately available, said officials at CardiacAssist Inc., the makers of the TandemHeart. BIVAD.

Her surgeons chose to use the TandemHeart device as a bridge to the surgical BIVAD when it was not possible to wean from bypass immediately post-transplant. The TandemHeart provided the surgeons with a means to provide bi-ventricular support without the complex and invasive cannulation techniques required of surgical VAD placement. This enabled physicians to get the support necessary with minimal metabolic stress to either the patient or her heart. With the support of the TandemHeart, the physicians had the time necessary to make important decisions regarding the subsequent treatment for this particular patient after a few days.

“The TandemHeart played a critical role in early treatment of this patient’s transplant failure,” said Marco Ricci, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at Holtz Children’s Hospital. “While it is true that the next 100 days were accomplished thanks to the surgical BIVAD, we were really in a tough spot with few viable choices when we were unable to wean her from bypass. The TandemHeart was an important step in this case.”
The TandemHeart can be placed rapidly in the cath lab or operating room, providing effective, reliable, temporary circulatory support. To date, the TandemHeart has been used nearly 1,500 times in 28 countries at 130 different facilities by 300 different physicians, the company said.

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