Quality Over Quantity: Standardization of Pediatric HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device Dressing Changes

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Pediatric patients are unique both in their diagnosis and clinical presentation before implantation of a ventricular assist device (VAD) and in their driveline site characteristics post-implant. There is limited evidence in scholarly literature that describes complications of pediatric VAD driveline sites or approaches by which to manage them. The Cardiac Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) follows a standard of care for HeartWare VAD (HVAD) dressing changes in the inpatient setting with the goal of transitioning patients to weekly dressing changes by the time they are discharged to home. As a patient with an HVAD nears discharge, members of an interprofessional team collaborate with insurance providers and home care agencies to procure the appropriate supplies needed at home. Individualized plans of care are necessary for patients who are unable to transition to weekly dressings; however, customized products (such as silicone foam border dressings and antimicrobial agents) may be challenging to supply as single items from home care agencies. Between March 2014 and June 2017, 15 patients underwent HVAD implantation, and eight (53%) were discharged home. Ten patients (67%) were able to transition to weekly dressing changes. Individualized plans of care for driveline site management were required for six (40%) patients with persistent drainage. Three patients (20%) experienced a driveline site infection. This article describes how a quality improvement (QI) initiative using rapid-cycle improvement methodology was executed to standardize HVAD dressing changes in our pediatric population.

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