Ventricular Assist Device Program

Some children have such severe heart failure that even with use of specialized medication to support their heart function, they have limited long-term survival. In these cases, specialized heart pumps, or ventricular assist devices (VAD), are needed for survival.

Use of the Berlin Heart® Ventricular Assist Device has allowed us to care for the younger patients in need of support. Prior to the use of the Berlin Heart®, there were limited support options for patients under the age of 12 (35 kg).  For more than five years, we were a participating center for compassionate use of the Berlin Heart® and we contributed to data collection that resulted in FDA approval in the fall of 2011.  In 2006, the first Berlin Heart® in Florida was implanted into an 8-year old with cardiomyopathy. He successfully was bridged to heart transplantation and is alive and well today. As of June 1, 2012, we have implanted 12 devices. We have successfully implanted the smallest (weight) and youngest (age) infants in the United States who also have gone in for successful heart transplants.  

In addition, in 2013, our physicians were the first in Florida to implant the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart® implant, an internal artificial device that replace the patient’s own heart.