Objective: We report on our experience with the BerlinHeart Excor system in adults and paediatric patients who underwent placement of the mechanical support device under emergency conditions and demonstrate the exceptional advantages and the considerable versatility of the system.
Methods: Since 2003, 29 consecutive patients (25 adults and 4 infants) with ages ranging from 10 months to 54 years underwent implantation of an Excor system. Main underlying heart diseases in adults were acute myocardial infarction (n = 9), dilative cardiomyopathy (n = 6), acute myocarditis (n = 6), whereas most of the children suffered from dilative cardiomyopathy. Ten patients had undergone implantation of an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation system.
Results: In 26 cases, a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) was implanted, while 3 patients had biventricular support. The support interval of all patients surviving the perioperative period lasted from 30 to 412 days, mean period of support until heart transplantation or explantation was 184 +/- 117 days. Severe complications were rare.
Conclusion: The Excor paracorporeal mechanical support system is an excellent and highly versatile device for the support of patients of all ages and different types of underlying heart disease in the mid-term and long-term. The implant procedure and the perioperative management are simple, and complication rates are low.