Something needed to be done. Immediately.
Given the progression of Katrina's heart failure, waiting for a heart transplant wasn't a viable option. What else could doctors do for a kid with her whole life ahead?
"As physicians, we appreciate the fear in the eyes of not only the child, but also the mothers and fathers," said Robert L. Kormos, M.D., divisional vice president, global medical affairs, Abbott's heart failure business.
Because Katrina's life-threatening condition was rapidly worsening, her doctors chose to implant a HeartMate 3 Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) , commonly called a heart pump. At the time, it was only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adults.
And she was just 14.
Katrina's HeartMate 3 assists her heart as it pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout her body, allowing her to fully live again. Its compact design has had an outsized impact on her life. She’s steadily regained her strength. Now 16, she’s back to doing the normal things a teenager does, like learning to drive. "Our house has kind of gone back to a bit of normalcy," Maria said.
"Almost immediately, we began seeing improvement."
"Feels like I can do so much stuff I love to do," Katrina said, including playing with her pooch Roxie. "I'm feeling amazing today."
Now, More Children Will Benefit
While Katrina's circumstances were extraordinary, the FDA has approved an updated labeling for the HeartMate 3 to include pediatric patients with advanced heart failure.
The FDA's approval gives physicians additional options for treating children and teens waiting for a heart transplant as well as those not eligible to receive a transplant.
"Imagine a child who cannot dream about the future because a heart that does not allow them to play with friends, sing or run," Kormos said. "Innovations such as the HeartMate 3 can lessen the crippling effects of heart failure and allow that child to live a normal life."