Heart(y) News, February 19

February 19, 2010 by  

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Texas Children’s discharges history-making patient
Sixteen-year-old Francesco “Frank” De Santiago is finally going home from the hospital, thus making history. He was the first pediatric patient to be discharged last October after receiving an implanted mechanical heart pump, or ventricular assist device (VAD). The VAD is a bridging device implanted in patients waiting for a heart donor. Other pediatric patients with VAD have to stay at the hospital until a matching heart donor is found. Frank finally received a donor heart on January 29 after a 9-nine operation

According to Dr. David L.D. Morales, pediatric cardiovascular surgeon at Texas Children’s Heart Center who implanted Frank’s device last May and performed his recent heart transplant.
“Frank’s surgery went extremely well; he was a much better candidate for a heart transplant now than eight months ago when his heart was failing. The device improved his physical health and allowed him be discharged so he could enjoy some normal teen activity during the wait for a donor heart. Texas Children’s is leading the way in using five different types of VAD technology to help pediatric patients enhance their quality of life and outlook so they are better prepared for their transplant surgery.”

Statement of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on American Heart Month, February 2010
The American Heart Month is soon coming to an end but the we hope that the lessons learned have long-lasting effects. Here is part of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ statement:
American Heart Month is a time to spread awareness of the dangers of heart disease and stroke, and recommit to strengthening prevention, improving treatments, and helping all Americans live longer, healthier lives… This American Heart Month, talk with your doctor about your personal risk for heart disease and the steps to take to lower it.  By encouraging all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle, we can reduce the threat of heart disease and become a healthier country.”

NHLBI Funds Preclinical Tests on Devices for Infants and Children with Congenital Heart Defects
Each year, about 1,800 infants in the US die due to congenital heart defects. Many others suffer from heart diseases including heart failure. The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has recently awarded four contracts totaling $23.6 million for preclinical testing of devices to help children born with congenital heart defects The program is called Pumps for Kids, Infants, and Neonates (PumpKIN) and is planned for 4 years. The contractors are researchers in University of Pittsburgh, Ension, Inc., University of Maryland, and Jarvik Heart, Inc.

According paediatrician Dr. Susan B. Shurin, NHLBI Acting Director

“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. The NHLBI is committed to saving the lives of our youngest patients. Well-designed circulatory support devices are expected to substantially improve the outcomes of the infants and young children who need them as they seek to recover or wait to receive a heart transplant.”

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