Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Teen Lives 4 Months Without Heart

Wow. The advances in the medical field have been really amazing when you take the time to catch up on what's happening. This teenage girl with an enlarged heart needed a transplant, but her first transplant didn't work right with her body so it had to be removed. While waiting on the next transplant, they kept her alive with artificial pumps that moved the blood throughout her body...but no actual heart! Can you imagine? This is promising news for people awaiting transplants who face certain death without them.





The pumps, ventricular assist devices, are typically used with a heart still in place to help the chambers circulate blood. With D'Zhana's heart removed, doctors at Holtz Children's Hospital crafted substitute heart chambers using a fabric and connected these to the two pumps.

Although artificial hearts have been approved for adults, none has been federally approved for use in children. In general, there are fewer options for pediatric patients. That's because it's rarer for them to have these life-threatening conditions, so companies don't invest as much into technology that could help them, said Dr. Marco Ricci, director of pediatric cardiac surgery at the University of Miami.

He said this case demonstrates that doctors now have one more option.

Click here for the entire article.

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