An Overview of Mechanical Circulatory Support in Children : Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

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Joint Statement on Mechanical Circulatory Support

An Overview of Mechanical Circulatory Support in Children

Jaquiss, Robert D. B. MD1; Bronicki, Ronald A. MD2,3

Author Information
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 14(5_suppl):p S3-S6, June 2013. | DOI: 10.1097/PCC.0b013e318292dca5



For children with severe heart failure in whom medical management has failed, mechanical circulatory support in the form of either extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ventricular assist device represents life-sustaining therapy. This review provides an overview of these two modalities, including a discussion of indications, contraindications, timing, and device selection, as part of the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society/Extracorporeal Life Support Organization Joint Statement on Mechanical Circulatory Support.

Data Sources, Study Selection, Data Extraction: 

PubMed was searched using the following terms: ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, ventricular assist device, VAD, and pediatric. Case reports, single-center series, multicenter studies, and registry reports were reviewed.


The two technologies have unique advantages and disadvantages and may be considered complementary devices, although they are frequently used in sequence. Either modality may be used as bridge-to-transplant or bridge-to-recovery, and the choice of device and device timing is influenced by the acuity of illness, comorbidities, potential for recovery, and anticipated duration of support.

©2013The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies

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