Bring hope to people with single ventricle heart defects by funding research and development for the potentially life-saving Fontan blood pump.
Single ventricle heart defect is a rare disease, which affects one of the two main pumping chambers of the heart. The chamber may be too small, underdeveloped, or missing a valve. These are some of the most critical and life-threatening congenital heart disease (CHD) conditions. Each year in the United States, more than 1250 patients - primarily infants - undergo surgery – called the Fontan operation - to correct this defect.
Unfortunately, surgery is not a cure. An estimated half of all children who survive the Fontan operation will have heart failure by adulthood and all Fontan patients are expected to eventually fail at some point in their lifetime. The only treatment option for these patients is a heart transplant. Heart transplants are lifesaving, but exchange one set of complications for another set. They are incredibly risky, require intense medical management, and require patients to live in a weakened immune state due to the required anti-rejection medications.
There needs to be another treatment option for patients born with a single ventricle heart defect. For the last 15 years, Dr. Mark Rodefeld, a pediatric heart surgeon in Indianapolis, IN, has been working to develop a Fontan blood pump. His research aims to place a small pump in the hearts of Fontan patients to emulate a normal two ventricle circulation, halt the progression of Fontan disease, and reduce the need for heart transplant.
Dr. Rodefeld’s research has in the past been supported by two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants be he needs more support to help move this promising research forward. Dr. Rodefeld has assembled a team of engineers and medical device manufacturers to design and prototype this device. There is only one barrier holding back his prototype from being made – funding.
Please consider making a contribution today to support the research and development of cavopulmonary assist concepts, such as the Fontan blood pump, in the Cardiothoracic Surgery at the IU School of Medicine. Every dollar can help save lives and improve the quality of life of patients who are experiencing these life-threatening conditions.
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