Though ventricular assist devices (VADs) are an important treatment option for acute heart failure, an extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) is usually used in pediatric patients for several reasons. However, a temporary centrifugal pump-based Bi-VAD might have clinical advantages versus ECMO or implantable VADs. From January 2000 to July 2018, we retrospectively reviewed 36 pediatric patients who required mechanical circulatory support (MCS) for acute heart failure. Cases with postoperative MCS were excluded. Since 2016, we have tried to immediately add a right VAD rather than ECMO, when the patients begin to present features of right heart failure after left VAD support started in cases that the patients’ respiratory function did not require an oxygenator. Original diagnoses included dilated cardiomyopathy (n = 18), myocarditis (n = 11), and others (n = 7).
Eleven patients were supported by Bi-VAD, and 25 patients were supported by ECMO; of these. Four patients were successfully weaned from VAD, and 10 patients were weaned from ECMO. Eleven patients underwent heart transplantation. Overall, we have 15 (41.7%) early mortalities. There were no significant differences in early mortality, morbidity, and weaning rate between the Bi-VAD group and the ECMO group. During the support, patients with Bi-VADs significantly required fewer platelets and showed less hemolysis than ECMO patients. Patients with myocarditis were successfully weaned from Bi-VAD support and bridged to transplantation thereafter. A temporary centrifugal pump-based Bi-VAD was clinically comparable to ECMO for pediatric patients with acceptable pulmonary function.