5 Questions: Christopher Almond on pediatric heart pump trial


Stanford is leading a multisite study of a new ventricular assist device for children who are awaiting heart transplantation. The miniature pump is slightly bigger than a paper clip.

The Jarvik 2015 ventricular assist device is designed for young children with advanced heart failure who are awaiting a transplant. Stanford will be one of the sites testing the device.of Jarvik Heart I
During the wait for a heart transplant, patients with advanced heart failure can be supported with a ventricular assist device, an artificial pump that helps the heart move blood through the body. But the VAD now used for babies and small children — the Berlin Heart — has drawbacks. The pump carries a 30 percent risk of stroke and is unwieldy: The driver, which sits outside the body, is about the size of a shopping cart. For these reasons, children supported with the Berlin Heart must stay in the hospital until a donor heart becomes available. This can take months.

In recent years, researchers have developed a replacement for the Berlin Heart called the Jarvik 2015. The new device is a fully implantable pump that is roughly the length of a paper clip and as thick as an adult’s index finger. After a series of successful animal studies, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first clinical trial of the device in humans. It’s called the PumpKIN Trial after the NIH-sponsored Pumps for Kids, Infants and Neonates program that launched the research. Continue reading
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