Connecting the Centrimag Levitronix pump to Berlin Heart Excor cannulae; a new approach to bridge to bridge

Alexander P W M Maat, Robert J van Thiel, Michiel Dalinghaus, Ad J J C Bogers
Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation 2008, 27 (1): 112-5

BACKGROUND: An increasing number of children are requiring circulatory support. Hospitals offering pediatric Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) should have devices of different sizes available to cover the full range of patient sizes incurring considerable expense. As in adults, post-operative bleeding often complicates VAD implantation. The use of a Levitronix Centrimag centrifugal pump, connected to Berlin Heart Excor cannulae, seems an attractive and logic combination, both in terms of patient safety and of hospital economics.

METHODS: We describe 3 children with therapy resistant cardiac failure who underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a rescue before proceeding to placement of the Berlin Heart Excor paracorporeal assist device. The Levitronix Centrimag pump was used as an intermediate device to allow the patients to be stabilised. Therefore, only Berlin Heart cannulae of different sizes have to be readily available; if successful stabilization can be achieved, the Berlin Heart Excor ventricles and the drive unit can then be ordered to replace the Levitronix pump.

RESULTS: Two patients were successfully stabilised with the Levitronix pump and were switched to the definitive Berlin Heart Excor ventricles after 6 days of support. The third child succumbed due to intractable pulmonary hemorrhage in severely damaged lungs. No device related complications, especially no thrombo-embolic events, occurred during Levitronix support.

CONCLUSION: The Levitronix Centrimag pump was easy to handle and gave effective circulatory support, the patients were only switched to the Berlin Heart Excor system after stabilization. In patients with a high risk of failure, it is a relatively cheap but safe and effective support system.

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