Patients who have undergone heart surgery in their first year of life have an increased risk for developmental delays. The Congenital Heart Center’s Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up Clinic is working to identify the factors related to treatment and follow-up care that may have developmental impacts.
Children with complex congenital heart disease experience a lot in their first year of life. Unfortunately, they are also at an increased risk of developmental delays. That’s why the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Congenital Heart Center established a Neurodevelopment Follow-up Clinic and is leading research on the matter.
“We know that these children have an increased risk for developmental delays and we know that early intervention is key to overcoming any issues they may experience. Our work is focused on identifying patients as early as possible and getting them treatment that will help them overcome their delays,” says Caren Goldberg, MD, a pediatric cardiologist at Mott.
A “hole” created in atrial tissue using “knifeless surgery” techniques Dr Owens and his team hope to use to create flow channels in the hearts of infants with congenital heart defects.
Anyone who has had a baby is familiar with ultrasound. That squirt of gel on your belly and the magic of the image of your little developing baby. Those images are made possible by high-frequency sound waves that bounce off the baby and back to the transducer in the hand of the technician or doctor. It’s that same technology, but on a much more intense level, that Gabe Owens, MD, PhD, is using in his research.
“We’re working to harness the energy the ultrasound emits and use it for therapeutic purposes,” says Dr. Owens. His research focuses on opening flow channels in the hearts of babies with congenital heart defects.
When you’re dealing with a rare condition, conducting research can be challenging since the pool of study participants is so small. That’s one of the challenges Kurt Schumacher, MD, faced with his investigation of complications developed by some patients who have undergone a Fontan procedure, a heart surgery used to treat some congenital heart anomalies.
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