Echocardiographic evaluation of ventricular assist devices in pediatric patients

Ritu Sachdeva, Elizabeth A. Frazier, Robert D B Jaquiss, Michiaki Imamura, Christopher J. Swearingen, Himesh V. Vyas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The use of ventricular assist devices (VADs) in children is challenging because of small patient size, frequent structural heart disease, and the need for biventricular assist devices. This report describes the role of echocardiography in the management of children supported by VADs. Methods: A retrospective review of the records of all pediatric patients who underwent VAD placement between May 2005 and May 2011 was performed to collect demographics, cardiac diagnoses, details of VADs, and transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiographic findings from the time of initial diagnosis until VAD explantation. Results: The study included 32 patients (median age, 3 years; age range, 20 days to 16 years; median weight, 12.3 kg; weight range, 3.5-60 kg), 20 with left ventricular assist devices and 12 with biventricular assist devices. Diagnoses included dilated cardiomyopathy or myocarditis (n = 27) and congenital heart disease (n = 5). The median duration of support was 12 days (range, 1-141 days). Patients with decreased right ventricular function were 8 times more likely to undergo biventricular assist device placement compared with those with normal right ventricular function (P =.026). Pre-VAD intracardiac shunts were identified in 11 patients and intracardiac thrombus in one patient. Cardiac chamber dimensions and mitral insufficiency were significantly reduced after VAD implantation. Postimplantation pericardial effusions were recognized in 16 patients and pericardial hematomas in 12 patients. Conclusions: Echocardiography is invaluable in the management of pediatric patients receiving VADs. It is helpful in pre-VAD assessment, guiding intraoperative device placement, recognizing VAD dysfunction, and identifying postimplantation complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Echocardiography
  • Pediatrics
  • Ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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