The Pediatric Heart Program at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia provides unique services available nowhere else in the region.
The baby was born at 9:44 a.m. on a Tuesday. But three months earlier, he’d been diagnosed in utero with a congenital heart condition.
So the Children’s Hospital of Georgia’s Pediatric Heart Program was ready. So were the mother’s OB-GYN, the CHOG Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the family. “That’s the benefit of the Pediatric Heart Program at CHOG,” said Dr. Zahid Amin, section chief of pediatric cardiology. “Once a baby is diagnosed, we streamline care with pediatric cardiology, pediatric surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and the NICU. Nowhere else in Georgia can parents having a baby with a congenital heart condition deliver their child and have both mom and baby remain under the same roof, even on the same floor. It’s a huge plus.”
In fact, labor and delivery at the Augusta University Medical Center is only steps down the hall from the neonatal intensive care unit at CHOG, so parents can stay in close contact with their child during the immediate care that’s necessary when a baby is born with a heart defect. It’s a unique — and family-friendly — aspect of the heart program at CHOG that not even large centers in Atlanta offer.
Care at the Pediatric Heart Program at CHOG can also include a multidisciplinary approach that’s become a buzzword in major pediatric heart centers across the country: Known as a hybrid approach, it involves pediatric heart interventionalists working side by side with pediatric cardiac surgeons. CHOG is one of the leading centers in the nation when it comes to using hybrid techniques to place pulmonary valves in babies too tiny for an open surgical procedure, as well as for complex cases such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, closure of holes in the heart in premature babies and some stent placements. “These are cases where surgery alone is contraindicated or high-risk and where a single intervention might not suffice,” said Dr. Anatasios Polimenakos, director of pediatric and congenital cardiothoracic surgery. “Here, a strategy toward definitive correction of the defect can be bridged through a hybrid approach, where a cardiac surgeon performs part of the operation and the interventional cardiologist does the other part.”
The heart program also provides advanced care available nowhere else in the region, including:
- Congenital heart surgery such as cardiac valve, single ventricle and hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- A dedicated pediatric cardiac catheterization suite
- Adult congenital heart care
- Family amenities, ranging from an on-site Ronald McDonald House, child life specialists, a support group and a summer camp for children with heart defects