Offering Hope and Support for Children with Heart Failure

Opening of Nation’s First Pediatric Heart Failure Intensive Care Unit (HF ICU)

As one of the largest programs in the nation, Texas Children’s Hospital, (TCH) in Houston, is leading the way for positive outcomes in pediatric patients with Heart Failure.

Each year, their dedicated team cares for more than 650 cardiomyopathy and heart failure patients. Myocarditis is a major cause of cardiomyopathy, and the mortality rate in children with Myocarditis is 4.2% in children in the US.

Myocarditis is the 2nd leading cause (25%) of acute heart failure in children, with the 1st leading cause being Idiopathic (unknown cause) Dilated Cardiomyopathy; which in effect, could be caused by Myocarditis, thus increasing the percentage caused by Myocarditis.

On July 6th, TCH opened the nation’s first Pediatric Heart Failure ICU. This highly specialized 12 bed unit focuses on the treatment of children with heart failure, as well as those requiring intensive care before and after heart transplant. On the day that the ICU opened, there were 4 children being treated for Myocarditis.

Mechanical assist devices, such as Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a short term option, to allow the heart to rest and heal itself, (often used in severe acute myocarditis), and Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD), which can be used for a longer period of time or as a bridge to transplant, are both frequently utilized options for children suffering heart failure from acute Myocarditis, at Texas Children’s Hospital.

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Dr. Jack Price, one of the Myocarditis Foundation Board Members, is an associate professor of Pediatrics-Cardiology and Critical Care, at Baylor, and serves as Associate Medical Director on the Unit. Dr. Price is pictured above cutting the ribbon and on the left in the adjacent picture.