JOURNAL ARTICLE

First pediatric transatlantic air ambulance transportation on a Berlin Heart EXCOR left ventricular assist device as a bridge to transplantation

Cecile Tissot, Holger Buchholz, Max B Mitchell, Eduardo da Cruz, Shelley D Miyamoto, Bill A Pietra, Arnaud Charpentier, Olivier Ghez
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2010, 11 (2): e24-5
20216173

INTRODUCTION: Mechanical circulatory devices are indicated in patients with refractory cardiac failure as a bridge to recovery or to transplantation. Whenever required, transportation while on mechanical support is a challenge and still limited by technical restrictions or distance.

CASE REPORT: We report the first pediatric case of transatlantic air transportation on a Berlin Heart EXCOR ventricular assist device (Berlin Heart, Berlin, Germany) of a 13-yr-old American female who presented in cardiogenic shock with severe systolic dysfunction while vacationing in France. Rapid hemodynamic deterioration occurred despite maximal medical treatment, and she was supported initially with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation converted to a Berlin Heart EXCOR left ventricular assist device. Long-distance air transportation of the patient was accomplished 3 wks after implantation from Marseille, France, to Denver, Colorado. No adverse hemodynamic effects were encountered during the 13.5-hr flight (8770 km). The patient did not recover sufficient cardiac function and underwent successful orthotopic heart transplantation 3 months after the initial event.

CONCLUSIONS: Our experience suggests that long-distance air transportation of pediatric patients using the Berlin Heart EXCOR mobile unit as a bridge to recovery or transplantation is feasible and appears safe.

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