Heart failure occurs when the heart can no longer meet the demands of the body. The causes of heart failure in children differ substantially from those found in adults and include congenital (from birth) heart disease, cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm), infections and anaemia.1,2
Data reporting the incidence of heart failure in children are scarce and vary between countries, but estimates are in the range of 0.87 to 3 per 100,000 population in Europe.1
In children, heart failure is characterised by problems with feeding and growth, fatigue, breathlessness, abnormally fast breathing and sweating. In some patients, prognosis is poor and heart transplantation is required.
Standard treatments for heart failure in children include digoxin, diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta-blockers. However, relatively few trials have been conducted to test heart failure treatments in children.3 Of note, the majority of drugs used to treat adult patients with heart failure have not received paediatric regulatory approval and around 80% of children receive off-label medications.3 Most drugs used in paediatric heart failure are not available in suitable formulations, introducing additional complications in terms of ensuring the correct dose is administered.2
Proveca are developing two paediatric-specific treatments to reduce the burden experienced by children with heart failure.
- Shaddy RE, et al. Pediatr Cardiol. 2018;39:415-436.
- World Heart Organization. Cardiac Failure in Children. Available at: https://www.who.int/selection_medicines/committees/expert/17/application/paediatric/Paed_Cardiac_Failure_Review.pdf
- Recla S, et al. Transl Pediatr. 2019;8:127-132.
Date completed March 2020