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Pitt-led team gets $5.6 million contract for heart assist device for infants and toddlers
Date:2/4/2010

ich is designed using state-of-the-art computer models and analyses, pulls oxygenated blood from the left ventricle through the device, returning the blood to the aorta and patient circulation. The flow rate of the PediaFlow can be varied between 0.5 to 1.5 liters per minute, suitable for the very smallest infants to toddlers.

"We believe the PediaFlow will be capable of replacing the heart function of our smallest patients," explained Peter Wearden, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at Children's Hospital who leads the clinical work of the project. "Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) have been very successful in supporting older children and adults as a bridge to eventual heart transplantation, or, in some cases, as a temporary measure that allows the heart to rest and recover. But there currently are no FDA-approved LVADs for babies and toddlers."

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, currently is the only form of support for these smallest of children, but it requires that patients be fully anesthetized, and can only be used for a few weeks before severe complications develop.

"This creates a 'race against time' while we and the family wait for an appropriate donor organ to become available," Dr. Wearden noted. "To meet the NHLBI's requirements, PediaFlow must support patients for up to six months, and our preclinical research has already shown that it works flawlessly for at least 70 days. We are very excited to have these additional resources to help bring this technology to these children."

The other PumpKIN contractors are Mark Gartner, Ph.D., of Ension Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.; Bartley P. Griffith, M.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore; and Robert Jarvik, M.D., Jarvik Heart Inc., New York, N.Y.

"This research seeks to develop technologies to expand life-saving options for infants and children born with congenital heart defects or those who develop heart failure," said Susan B. Shurin, M.D., a p
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Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
SrikamAV@upmc.edu
412-578-9193
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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