Mechanical Circulatory Support Program

Our Cardiac Critical Care Unit (CICU) serves as the home for our Mechanical Circulatory Support Program, which uses pediatric home ventricular assist devices (VADs). The devices allow us to support our most critical patients, helping them feel better and enjoy a more routine lifestyle. Since 2006, approximately 25 percent of our heart transplant patients were supported during their waiting period by some form of mechanical circulatory support. These devices allow us to support our most critical patients, making them feel better and more functional while waiting for a heart.

Ventricular assist devices (VADs) are types of pumps that can be surgically implanted to assist the failing heart in pumping blood throughout the body. Over the past few years, our team has successfully used a wide variety of available devices to "bridge" or help patients with severe heart failure get stronger while waiting for heart transplant or for their own hearts to recover. Our experience and expertise with the full array of available technologies allows the team to select the best type of support for each patient.

VADs allow a "more normal" lifestyle

The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin program is one of the few pediatric programs in the country with the depth and experience to offer pediatric patients and their families the opportunity to go home with their VAD support. This includes the ability to attend school and participate in other activities with close follow-up by our home VAD team. Children supported by VAD also require less IV medicines and can enjoy a normal appetite and diet.

Types of support offered include:

  • Berlin Heart
  • Heartmate II
  • Heart Ware HVAD
  • Thoratec PVAD
  • Impella
  • Total artificial heart
  • ECMO (including mobile ECMO)