Long-term outcomes after transplantation after support with a pulsatile pediatric ventricular assist device

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2019 Apr;38(4):449-455. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2018.10.005. Epub 2018 Oct 26.


Background: There has been increasing use of durable ventricular assist devices (VAD) in children as a bridge to transplantation (BTT). The Berlin Heart investigational device exemption (IDE) trial was the first pediatric VAD trial to demonstrate excellent survival outcomes as a BTT.

Objectives: Our aim was to compare the expanded post-transplant outcomes for children enrolled in the Berlin Heart IDE trial to a matched Pediatric Heart Transplant Study (PHTS) cohort not requiring mechanical circulatory support (MCS).

Setting: University Hospitals.

Methods: This was a retrospective review of linked PHTS and Berlin Heart IDE databases for pediatric (≤18 years) recipients transplanted from 2007-2011. Subjects with <5 years of follow up were excluded. VAD supported patients were matched 1:2 to non-VAD supported controls from the PHTS database.

Results: Among 109 Berlin Heart IDE study enrollees, 83 were merged with the PHTS database and matched to 166 non-MCS supported patients. There was no difference in diagnosis, status at listing, and age between groups with the expected difference in inotrope use in the non-MCS supported patients. Compared to their matched cohort, there was no statistical difference in 5-year patient survival between VAD and non-VAD patients (81% vs 88%; p = 0.09) nor was there a difference in freedom from rejection or infection.

Conclusions: This data suggests that children supported with a Berlin Heart VAD had similar survival, infection and rejection rates compared to those not requiring MCS support. Continued surveillance of the Berlin Heart IDE trial population post heart transplantation is warranted.

Keywords: pediatric end-stage heart failure; pediatric heart transplant; pediatric mechanical circulatory support; post transplant survival; ventricular assist device.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Device Removal
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / surgery*
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome