PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Increased miniaturization of ventricular assist devices (VADs) and new mechanical support strategies (MCS) has increased the use of MCS in the pediatric and congenital heart disease (CHD) population. This comes with the need for care providers specialized in this field to determine optimal patient and device selection, and to improve outcomes and decrease complication rates for new innovative strategies. A review of the published literature in this field is timely and relevant.
RECENT FINDINGS: There has been a rapid evolution of using adult designed continuous flow VADS to support children and adults with CHD (ACHD). Patient selection for patients with CHD is complex because of patient size and anatomical diversity and, therefore, makes decision-making complex and unique when compared to general adult practice. Outcomes for children depend on size and diagnosis with neonates with single ventricle physiology being the highest risk candidates. This also holds true for ACHD, in which VAD outcomes in patients with two ventricle physiology are comparable to non-ACHD patients.
SUMMARY: In children, there is an increased use of continuous flow devices and a growing experience with outpatient management. Patients with CHD especially when associated with single ventricle physiologies, remain a challenge when it comes to MCS/VAD placement but successful durable VAD implantation with discharge home has been reported.