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Unprecedented Study shows Berlin Heart device provides life-saving "bridge" for young children and babies
Date:8/8/2012

HOUSTON, Aug. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A tiny heart pump that maintains blood flow in babies and small children with serious heart failure proved effective and life-saving in a pioneering study involving 17 institutions led by Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). A report on this study appears today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study looked at the safety and probable benefit of the Berlin Heart® EXCOR Pediatric Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), the only VAD available for babies and children. Patients who received the Berlin Heart lived longer on the device and were more likely to receive a transplant or recover heart function than children who were maintained on more traditional support using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), according to the study's results.

"This study is unprecedented and represents broad collaboration among the top pediatric cardiac transplantation centers in North America, really the who's who in the field," said Dr. Charles Fraser Jr., surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital and professor of surgery and pediatrics at BCM. Fraser is also the corresponding author of the report and was national principal investigator of the study. "This study is now the gold standard for VAD therapies in children. Everything going forward will be compared to this."

Before the Berlin Heart

Before the Berlin Heart, physicians used complicated medical therapies to treat children with heart failure, hoping to keep them alive until a suitable donor heart became available. Newborns and small children often died as they waited since no more than 70 or 80  small donor hearts become available each year. ECMO provided only short term support when the child's heart failed completely. The Berlin Heart offers families a new ray of hope. 

"With the Berlin Heart, we have a more effective therapy to offer patients earlier in the management of their heart f
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SOURCE Texas Children's Hospital
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