Sorin Group: newborn and teen receive lifesaving heart surgery at children's healthcare of Atlanta’s Sibley Heart Center

Nov, 22 2006

New Stöckert S5 heart-lung system helps cardiac surgery teams perform bypass surgery on patients of all sizes

ARVADA, Colo., and ATLANTA - Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Sibley Heart Center is the first in the nation to use the Stöckert S5 heart-lung machine from the Sorin Group (SORN.MI) and has already used the advanced technology to help save several lives, including a newborn with a congenital heart defect and a Roswell, Ga. teen who suffered a traumatic heart injury.

When Berkley Huss, now eight weeks old, was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome in utero, Berkley's parents and the medical team at Children's Sibley Heart Center prepared for the difficult and complex surgery required to save her life.

With the support of the new Stöckert S5 heart-lung machine - a highly advanced system that manages the blood circulation to and from the heart and lungs during heart bypass surgery - Berkley underwent major surgery shortly after birth. Physicians were able perform a complex operation to enlarge the infant's aorta and reconstruct the pulmonary artery.

"They told me that they needed to stop her heart and that the thing keeping her alive was a sophisticated heart-lung machine," said Benjamin Huss, Berkley's father.

Berkley still has two surgeries ahead of her — one at about six months of age and another at two years of age. For now, her parents are just counting their blessings.

"Without this technology, many of these children wouldn't have a chance," said Huss. "It's amazing to have a machine that keeps children alive while doctors operate. Without this technology, my daughter would not have survived."

In another remarkable case, 16-year-old Nick Dubernard was injured during cross-country practice at Roswell High School in Roswell, Ga. While sprinting at full speed, Nick's chest struck a gate that was closed. The impact ripped open the muscular wall separating his heart's right and left ventricles, resulting in a traumatic and life-threatening ventricular septal defect (VSD).

After being rushed to the hospital, physicians at Children's Sibley Heart Center determined that open heart surgery would be required to correct the severe damage to Nick's heart. Three days after the frightening accident, Kirk Kanter, M.D., Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children's, operated on Nick using the S5 heart-lung machine. The advanced blood-circulating technology of the S5 proved to be an invaluable component of the teen's successful surgery.

After spending one week in the hospital, Nick was able to return home to his family. He recently attended his homecoming dance and has started back to school full-time. 

The Stöckert S5 heart-lung machine is flexible enough to accommodate the full range of patient sizes at Children's Sibley Heart Center - even on the tiniest of patients like Berkley. The smaller footprint of the S5 allows closer positioning of the system to the patient, providing an important component to reducing hemodilution. The system also features acoustically differentiated alarms and detailed information visible on the high-resolution touch screens to clearly describe the status of all monitoring functions.

"Our mission at Children's is to enhance the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research and education," said Kathy Spitzer, CCT, CCP, Manager of Perfusion Services at Children's. "This state-of-the-art S5 equipment, together with our highly trained and experienced perfusionists and surgical staff, allows us to deliver safe, optimal and quality care to our cardiac patients." 

Spitzer explained that the advantages of S5 made the decision to adopt the technology easy. The S5 is very versatile for a wide range of circuit sizes, circuit configurations and individual user preferences. Children's Sibley Heart Center has used the system on a five-pound newborn as well as on a 186-pound teenage girl with a subaortic membrane, which is an obstruction in which a fibrous membrane is located below the aortic valve of the heart. No manual calibration of the S5 is required, allowing the change from 1/2" tubing to 3/16" tubing with the touch of a button for patient safety and reduced hemodilution, or loss of red blood cells. 

"The Stöckert S5 represents a quantum leap in perfusion technology, and we expect it to help hospitals achieve new industry standards for safety, functionality, flexibility and quality," said Jim Trevor, country manager, USA Commercial Operations for Sorin Group. "We were excited to help Children's Sibley Heart Center perform the first few cases in the U.S. - with outstanding results - using this innovative new system."

About the Sorin Group
Sorin Group (Reuters code: SORN.MI), a world leader in the development of medical technologies for cardiac surgery, offers innovative therapies for cardiac rhythm dysfunctions, interventional cardiology and the treatment of chronic kidney diseases. Sorin Group includes: Dideco, CarboMedics, COBE Cardiovascular, Stöckert, Mitroflow, ELA Medical, Sorin Biomedica, Bellco and Soludia. Sorin Group has more than 4,500 employees working at facilities in more than 80 countries throughout the world to serve over 5,000 public and private treatment centers.

About Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
One of the leading pediatric healthcare systems in the country, CHOA is a not-for-profit organization that benefits from the generous philanthropic and volunteer support of our community. Operating three hospitals with more than half a million patient visits annually, Children's is recognized for excellence in cancer, cardiac, neonatal, orthopaedic and transplant services, as well as many other pediatric specialties. To learn more about Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, visit our Web site at or call 404-250-KIDS.

Marco Chiadò Piat
VP, Corporate Development, Sorin Group
Tel +39-02-6332341

Marilena Giavara
Director, Investor Relations
Tel. +44-20-70038730

Jason Rollins
PR Coordinator, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Tel 404-785-7741

Jennifer Hanson
PR Account Manager, Armada Medical Marketing
Tel 303-623-1190 x 239