A gift from the heart for cardiac patients

Hundreds of cardiac patients at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead will benefit from a new Heart Lung Machine.

The state-of-the-art machine, worth half a million dollars, was officially unveiled this week and was funded entirely by community donations with close to 700 people making a contribution.

The Heart Lung Machine is a vital and lifesaving piece of equipment used for children requiring open heart surgery, performing the role of a child’s heart and lungs while the heart is stopped.

“During major heart surgery, the only way to operate on a child’s heart is to stop the heart beating for a period of time. Sometimes this can be for an hour, sometimes it could be several.”

“The Heart Lung Machine allows us to do this is the safest way possible by taking on the role of the heart while we operate,” Director of the Heart Centre for Children, A/Prof Gary Sholler said.

The addition of a new Heart Lung Machine will give surgeons the capacity to perform more lifesaving heart procedures for children with complex cardiac conditions.

Each year more than 4,500 babies, children and adolescents are treated by the Hospital’s Heart Centre for Children with more than 500 of these patients requiring open heart surgery.