Cardiac device for kids

September 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
For kids waiting for heart transplants, each day is a gift; but as they wait, each day could also be their last. Now, a new version of a device that helped a powerful politician is giving kids more time.

When you're only three and have four big brothers, you practically have to become a super hero to survive. Little Charlie McMicken is channeling all the super strength he can to ward off a deadly foe.

"He started not eating, throwing up, crying non-stop," Sarah McMicken, Charlie's mom, told Action News.

Shortly after he was born, Charlie was diagnosed with cardio myopathy.

"He was born with a condition where his muscle cells are not normal. He wasn't able to run around and eventually, it got bad enough where he wasn't able to eat. It was scary seeing him," Bob Stewart, MD, Pediatric Congenital Heart Surgeon at The Cleveland Clinic told Action News,

A new device is now changing everything for Charlie. It's the pediatric Berlin Heart, a similar but smaller version of a device that helped former Vice President Dick Cheney when his heart was failing. In children, it sits outside the body and it's connected to the heart by multiple tubes. The device pumps blood to vital organs, helping the failing heart. "Everything was better quite quickly," Dr. Steward said.

August marks Charlie's eleventh month in the Cleveland Clinic. For 6 months, he's been tethered to his life line. "If we didn't have that, we wouldn't be here. I mean, it saved his life," said Sarah. But this is only a temporary fix. Charlie will need a heart transplant to survive and be back with his brothers where he belongs.

Charlie's brothers Ryan, Jake, and Johnny all expressed their desire to play with Charlie again. "I can't wait to go home and throw the baseball with him," Ryan said. "I wanna go swimming in the pool with him," said Jake. "I wanna have a huge party and celebrate him coming back. I've missed him so much," said Johnny.

We're happy to report that Charlie has received his heart, and doctors say he is doing well.

Before FDA approval of the pediatric Berlin Heart, emergency access was only given to child patients with special written permission. The device would have to be flown in from Germany, and patients would wait several days to get it, time that many young heart patients didn't have.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Denise Davis, MSN, CPNP
The Cleveland Clinic
(216) 444-6710


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