Children's Hospital Pittsburgh doctors at Cardiac World Congress; Only US doctors to present in Spanish

09/16/05

Fourth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery held Sept. 1823

PITTSBURGH Sept. 16, 2005 Several Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh physicians will be presenting at the Fourth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery this year, and will be the only group from the United States presenting in Spanish.

The physicians from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh who are presenting at the world congress are: Victor Morell, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery; Ricardo Munoz, MD, chief of Children's Cardiac Intensive Care; and Jacqueline Kreutzer, MD, director of Children's Interventional Cardiology.

The Fourth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery (WCPCCS) brings together world-renowned pediatric cardiovascular health professionals and experts to discuss key issues around cardiovascular science. The WCPCCS is held every four years and will be held this year in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This congress will bring in more than 2,500 delegates including physicians, researchers, scientists, nurses, technicians, policy makers, and others who are involved in pediatric cardiovascular medicine and health care. Dr. Morell will present on cardiac transplantation for the management of hypoplastic left heart syndrome, while Dr. Munoz will speak on pre-operative management of hypoplastic heart syndrome.

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a combination of several abnormalities of the heart and great blood vessels. It is a congenital (present at birth) syndrome, meaning that the heart defects occur due to abnormal underdevelopment of sections of the fetal heart during the first eight weeks of pregnancy. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome can be fatal without treatment.

Dr. Kreutzer will discuss cardiac cauterization interventional procedures for patients with single ventricle. While the normal heart has two ventricles, in some birth defects, one of these ventricles may be absent or poorly developed. This condition is called single ventricle, which connects with the aorta and pulmonary artery.

"It is an honor for us to be asked to speak at this world congress and highlight the advancements, surgical accomplishments and expertise of our cardiac team at Children's," said Dr. Morell, who was the lead doctor involved in an uncommon surgical procedure implanting a Berlin Heart, which is an experimental, child-size artificial heart pump that keeps young patients alive while awaiting a heart transplant.

The pediatric Berlin Heart has been used in the United States only on a very limited basis; in each case with emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Fewer than two dozen of these cases have been done in the United States, with Children's performing four of them.

Dr. Morell, who also is an associate professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is co-investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded research initiative to develop an implantable ventricular assist device suitable for use in infants and children. He also is involved in clinical studies related to pediatric cardiothoracic surgery with expertise in the management of complex transposition of the great arteries with a ventricular septal defect and pulmonary stenosis.

The four-day program includes seven sessions that will provide overviews of new and exciting developments in the field of pediatric cardiology and surgery. The program also includes 20 topics meant to elicit lively debates, and 48 symposiums to allow an in-depth discussion of most aspects of pediatric cardiology and pediatric cardiovascular surgery.

For a hospital where heart defects are repaired in children only a few months old; toddlers are transplant candidates; and children are sustained for weeks or months on mechanical heart pumps, Children's CICU provides the level of post-surgical medical care young cardiac patients need, said Dr. Munoz. With access to the latest technology, doctors can operate on the spot and are able to isolate patients who have recently received heart transplants and are in need of immunosuppressive drugs.

"Being able to share our experience and expertise with others in the medical profession in such a setting is truly an honor," said Dr. Munoz, who also is an assistant professor of Critical Care Medicine, Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Our CICU and team of specialized doctors, nurses and staff have been given countless opportunities in the treatment of children in this region and well beyond."

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