Hearing that you or your child is in end-stage heart failure is a very frightening time. The Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has many device options that may be used to mechanically support the heart and improve blood flow to the body. This mechanical support may be used with the goal of transplant or used to support the patient for the rest of the patient's life.

Our Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) program is a nationally recognized leader in mechanical circulatory support (MCS). Learn more about VADs and MCS on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

By the Numbers

  • 129 VADs have been placed from July 2010, through June 2021

Our VAD Program uses devices to support patients while they wait for a donor heart (bridge-to-transplant) or to recover a heart in temporary dysfunction (bridge-to-recovery).

We also support patients with VADs who are not transplant candidates (destination therapy). Destination therapy can be an alternative to heart transplantation for ineligible patients or an option for patients who do not want to pursue transplantation.

Full Spectrum of Conditions Supported

Patients travel from throughout the United States to receive care from our VAD team. We offer mechanical support options for patients with end-stage heart diseases such as:

  • Chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy
  • Chronic and acute transplant rejection
  • Congenital heart disease, such as Fontan failure
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) – associated cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertonic cardiomyopathy
  • Left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy
  • Myocarditis
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Devices Available

Short-term / transport support devices

  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • Impella
  • Rotaflow
  • Cardiohelp System
  • Centrimag and Pedimag

Long-term support devices

  • 50cc and 70cc Total Artificial Heart
  • Berlin Heart
  • HeartMate 3

Lung assist devices

  • Quadrox

ACTION Learning Network

The Advanced Cardiac Therapies Improving Outcomes Network (ACTION) includes more than 57 pediatric hospitals across North America. ACTION’s mission is to improve critical outcomes for congenital heart disease patients with heart failure by developing an international collaborative learning health system. It unites key stakeholders, including patients, families, clinicians, researchers and industries. Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute houses the operations team and data coordinating center, and many faculty and staff are active leaders.

ACTION’s collaborative efforts have reduced stroke rates for pediatric VAD patients by <50%, as of January 202. The Berlin Heart EXCOR is the most-used VAD in children, and for this patient population, stroke rates have decreased from 30% to 12%, due to ACTION’s efforts. The stroke rate for children with implantable VADs, such as the HeartMate 3, have decreased from 10% to less than 5% in this same time period.

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