|Severance Hospital medical staff examines the artificial heart linked to the infant’s heart that must be linked directly due to the baby’s small physical size.|
Cardiologists at Severance Cardiovascular Hospital have completed two groundbreaking operations with Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) transplants on an infant and a teenager.
LVAD is a pump used for patients who have reached end-stage heart failures. The battery-operated, mechanical pump - which helps the left ventricle pump blood to the rest of the body – is surgically implanted into the patient to sustain life until the patient undergoes a heart transplant.
The cardiology teams at Severance used the LVAD transplant as not just a temporary means to sustain life but as an independent heart therapy, successfully helping a one-year-old infant regain heart functions through an LVAD transplant alone.
Professors Park Young-hwan from Severance Cardiovascular Hospital, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery and Jung Jo-won from the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology completed the operation on the infant.
“Until now, LVAD transplantation has been the role of 'life support link' until heart transplantation, so it is significant that the infant’s case opened up the possibility of recovering lost heart function and returning to normal life through LVAD transplants,” Professor Park said. “In addition to successful surgery, personalized medication and active nursing helped lead to a good prognosis.”
Another team at Severance also performed the same operation on a 14-year- old schoolgirl so that she could return to her daily life and go back to school, even after an LVAD transplant. Usually, adolescents who have received LVAD transplants must stay in the hospital since the left ventricle in the cardiovascular system must be connected to the LVAD device outside the body.
In the recent case, however, Professors Shin Yu-rim from Severance Cardiovascular Hospital, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery and Jung Se-yong from the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology completed the operation by inserting the LVAD in the heart directly.
“It was difficult to insert the LVAD device between the narrowed heart and its surrounding organs, but fortunately, with detailed internal organ structure analysis and surgical planning, we were able to complete the first successful LVAD transplantation in an adolescent patient in Korea,” Professor Shin said.
Severance Hospital conducted the operations based on the successful first domestic adult in vitro LVAD transplantation in 2000 and the first successful right and left ventricle assist device transplant for a two-year-old boy in November 2017. Severance Hospital is the only medical institution in Korea to perform LVAD transplantation for children.