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Ochsner Health Implants Life-Saving Heart Devices in Pediatric Patient

Ochsner Health Implants Life-Saving Heart Devices in Pediatric Patient

New Orleans, La. – Ochsner Hospital for Children, among the top ranked hospitals in the nation for pediatric cardiology and congenital heart surgery, recently performed groundbreaking procedures to treat severe heart failure in a child. Building on more than two decades of experience at Ochsner with mechanical heart support in children, these newly available treatments are another Ochsner first for the state of Louisiana, with one of the devices implanted being the first use in a child worldwide.

A nine-year-old pediatric patient was recently referred to Ochsner Hospital for Children advanced heart failure/transplant team for evaluation. Dr. Katerina Boucek, a pediatric specialist in advanced heart failure therapies such as ventricular assist devices and transplant—marshalled the team who quickly went to work to save the young patient.

Congenital pediatric cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Dennis Wells was called in to implant a mechanical pump to provide left ventricular support and to allow for eventual discharge home. A HeartMate 3™ Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) was used, the first in a child this young in the state of Louisiana, and she is one of the youngest to receive this device in the U.S.

A substantial percentage of patients who require an LVAD need at least temporary right heart mechanical support as well, which was the case for this young patient.

The Ochsner Pediatric Interventional Catheterization team, led by Dr. Sam Lucas and Dr. Ivory Crittendon, implanted a catheter based, non-surgical Right Ventricular Assist Device (RVAD), the Impella RP Flex with SmartAssist. The device manufacturer confirms that this patient was the youngest and only pediatric patient who has received lifesaving support from the temporary Impella RP Flex.

“Within about 72 hours of using the temporary RVAD, the patient’s right ventricular function had improved sufficiently to remove the device,” said Dr. Katerina Boucek. “The benefit of using this temporary device is that it can be adjusted and removed at the bedside, which is less traumatic for our pediatric patients.”

The Ochsner Hospital for Children Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant team includes pediatric cardiovascular surgeons, interventional cardiologists, heart failure cardiologists, intensive care physicians and nurses, ventricular assist device coordinators, and many others. This team of internationally renowned pediatric experts supports the region’s most comprehensive pediatric cardiology and surgery program.

In 2022 for the second year in a row, U.S. News and World Report ranked Ochsner Hospital for Children No.1 in Louisiana, with pediatric cardiology and heart surgery ranked among the nation’s top 50. Ochsner Hospital for Children also offers the only pediatric heart and liver transplant program in the state, serving over 76,000 children every year with more than 150 physicians specializing in more than 30 pediatric specialties and sub-specialties.

For more information about Ochsner’s pediatric cardiology program, visit For more information about Ochsner Hospital for Children, visit

For more information on the HeartMate 3™ visit: HeartMate3 LVAD Product Information

For more information on the Impella RP Flex with SmartAssist visit: Impella RP Flex with SmartAssist

About Ochsner Health

Ochsner Health is the leading not-for-profit healthcare provider in the Gulf South, delivering expert care at its 46 hospitals and more than 370 health and urgent care centers. For 12 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has recognized Ochsner as the No. 1 hospital in Louisiana. Additionally, Ochsner Children’s has been recognized as the No. 1 hospital for kids in Louisiana for three consecutive years. Ochsner inspires healthier lives and stronger communities through a combination of standard-setting expertise, quality and connection not found anywhere else in the region. In 2023, Ochsner Health cared for more than 1.5 million people from every state in the nation and 65 countries. Ochsner’s workforce includes more than 38,000 dedicated team members and over 4,700 employed and affiliated physicians. To learn more about how Ochsner empowers people to get well and stay well, visit