(Vienna, 20-11-2023) Implantable blood pumps have become the standard treatment for adult patients with heart insufficiency. However, due to their anatomical and physiological characteristics, only non-implantable pump systems are currently available for affected children, which do not allow patients to be discharged from hospital. The research work at MedUni Vienna's CD Laboratory for Mechanical Circulatory Support aims to make implantable blood pumps for cardiac support available to pediatric patients with failing hearts. This should significantly improve their life expectancy and quality of life as well as their chances of recovery.
In recent decades, left ventricular assist devices with implantable blood pumps have become a standard therapy for adult heart insufficiency patients to bridge the gap until heart transplantation or even for permanent use. The limited function of the left ventricle is supported and blood is pumped from the left ventricle into the aorta to maintain blood circulation. In pediatric patients with heart insufficiency, however, the anatomical and physiological conditions pose considerable therapeutic challenges. For this reason, only non-implantable pump systems are currently available for children with heart insufficiency, which do not allow discharge from hospital. "Our aim is to transform mechanical circulatory support into an implantable, curative treatment option for children with failing hearts," says CD Laboratory Head Marcus Granegger from MedUni Vienna's Department of Cardiac Surgery. The aim is to reduce complications, improve patients' quality of life and, above all, increase the chances of recovery.
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Minister of Labor and Economic Affairs Martin Kocher emphasizes: "The artificial heart is an impressive example of the progress made in interdisciplinary biomedical research. The aim now is to adapt the technology for children as well, to optimize therapy and to improve the quality of life of patients. I am delighted that this important research work can be carried out in the new CD laboratory at the Medical University of Vienna and wish it every success for the benefit of patients!"
"Berlin Heart GmbH develops, produces and distributes innovative systems for human heart support in order to provide the best possible care for people with heart failure. Berlin Heart is the global market leader in the field of pediatric cardiac support. We are therefore looking forward with great confidence to working with the MedUni Vienna research team to further develop treatment options for affected children," says Ares K. Menon, CEO of Berlin Heart GmbH.
"Heart insufficiency in children brings with it serious limitations for the patients and great worries for their parents. Research at MedUni Vienna's CD Laboratory for Mechanical Circulatory Support aims to offer children not only an improved treatment option, but even the prospect of a cure. The work of Marcus Granegger and his team is therefore of enormous relevance both for patients and for medical science and practice. The close connection between basic research and clinical application is a top priority at the Medical University of Vienna. The new CD laboratory is another important example of this," says Michaela Fritz, Vice Rector for Research and Innovation at MedUni Vienna, underlining the importance of the collaboration with the Christian Doppler Research Association.