Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh announced today that it is part of a collaboration that has been awarded a $2.3 million federal grant to develop an external heart pump specifically for small children.
Such ventricular assist devices are used most often as a bridge to keep patients alive until a donor heart becomes available for transplant.
VADs are available for use in adults and larger children but none are designed and approved for use in infants and toddlers.
Cardiac experts at Children's are involved in separate projects to develop external and implantable VADs. It is estimated that as many as 1,000 children annually may benefit, Dr. Peter D. Wearden, a pediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon at the hospital, said in a news release.
Children's and medical device manufacturer Levitronix LLC received a $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for the project.