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This article discusses the main methods currently used in clinical practice to support patients with end-stage heart failure and the research into new devices under development, particularly for young children. With an increasing demand on the supply of organs available for heart transplant, alternative strategies are being sought to maintain patients with end-stage cardiac failure for longer periods of time. Devices that support a failing heart, allowing cardiac recovery in some cases, or more commonly accommodate the time to source a suitable donor heart for transplantation, provide crucial therapeutic options. Extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation and ventricular assist devices are the mainstay of such bridging therapy. Although providing essential support to critically ill patients, they are not without their own significant associated risks. Therapeutic advances aim to reduce the risks associated with these bridging systems, and new artificial devices are being developed to improve this supportive care.


E Siân Pincott, Michael Burch. Mechanical bridging to orthotopic heart transplantation in children. Future cardiology. 2012 Sep;8(5):753-63

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PMID: 23013126

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