‘End-stage’ heart failure therapy: potential lessons from congenital heart disease

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The final therapy of ‘end-stage heart failure’ is orthotopic heart, lung or heart-lung transplantation. However, these options are not available for many patients worldwide. Therefore, novel therapeutical strategies are needed. Based on pathophysiological insights regarding (1) the long-term impact of an obstructive pulmonary outflow tract in neonates with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries, (2) the importance of a restrictive versus a non-restrictive atrial septum in neonates born with a borderline left ventricle and (3) the significance of both, a patent foramen ovale and/or open ductus arteriosus for survival of newborns with persistent pulmonary hypertension, the current review introduces some therapeutical strategies that may be applicable to selected patients with heart failure. These strategies include (1) reversible pulmonary artery banding in left ventricular-dilated cardiomyopathy with preserved right ventricular function, (2) the creation of restrictive interatrial communication to treat diastolic (systolic) heart failure, (3) atrioseptostomy or reverse Potts shunt in pulmonary arterial hypertension and (4) return to a fetal, parallel circulation by combining atrioseptostomy and reversed Potts shunt with or without placement of a bilateral pulmonary artery banding. While still being experimental, it is hoped that the procedures presented in the current overview will inspire future novel therapeutic strategies that may be applicable to selected patients with heart failure.

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