Heart failure is a complex pathophysiological syndrome that can occur in children from a variety of diseases, including cardiomyopathies, myocarditis, and congenital heart disease. The condition is associated with a high rate of morbidity and mortality and places a significant burden on families of affected children and to society as a whole. Current medical therapy is taken largely from the management of heart failure in adults, though clear survival benefit of these medications are lacking. Ventricular assist devices (VADs) have taken an increasingly important role in the management of advanced heart failure in children. The predominant role of these devices has been as a bridge to heart transplantation, and excellent results are currently achieved for most children with cardiomyopathies. There is an ongoing investigation to improve outcomes in high-risk populations, such as small infants and those with complex congenital heart disease, including patients with functionally univentricular hearts. Additionally, there is an active investigation and interest in expansion of VADs beyond the predominant utilization as a bridge to a heart transplant into ventricular recovery, device explant without a heart transplantation (bridge to recovery), and placement of devices without the expectation of recovery or transplantation (destination therapy).
Korean Circ J 2015;45(1):1–8