Stories about: Gerald Marx

Video: Caring for kids with congenital heart disease

As Director of Ultrasound Imaging Research at the Heart Center, Dr. Gerald Marx is passionate about advancing non-invasive imaging and its role in diagnosing congenital heart disease.

Many of his patients who were first diagnosed in utero are now going off to college.

“This has become an extraordinarily technological field that we are in,” he says. “But within all that technology has to be the human interaction, the human feeling that the medical system cares about their son or daughter as a person and as a patient.”

Learn more about the Division of Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging.

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3-D printed heart makes a rare keepsake for this Alabama family

3-D printed heart
Dr. Jason Ayres with his son Patrick, Dr. Sitaram Emani, and Patrick’s 3-D printed heart

A clinical trial to outline the benefits of using 3-D printed hearts for surgery was recently funded by the nonprofit organization Matthew’s Hearts of Hope. Read more about this on our sister blog, Vector.

Jason Ayres, a family doctor in Alabama, was speechless as he held his adopted son’s heart in his hands — well, a replica of his son’s heart, an exact replica, 3-D printed before the three-year-old boy had lifesaving open-heart surgery.

Patrick Ayres was one of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s first beneficiaries of 3-D printing, which in 2015 helped open a new frontier in pediatric cardiac surgery.

Patrick was born with numerous cardiac problems; in addition to double outlet right ventricle (DORV) and a complete atrioventricular canal defect, his heart lay backwards in his chest. DORV is a complex congenital defect in which the blood pumped from the heart to the body lacks adequate oxygen. Complete atrioventricular canal defect is a combination of issues related to holes in the heart and/or ineffective heart valves.

“There were a lot of things wrong with his heart,” says Jason. “We knew early on that he’d need complex surgery to survive.”

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From Mexico to Boston to fix Regina’s heart

ReginaWindowFamilies throughout Mexico travel to the country’s capital for its world-class museums, ancient Aztec ruins, noted restaurants and hospitals. So for Elizabeth and Eduardo Torreblanca, flying 1,000 miles from their home in Cancun to deliver their firstborn in Mexico City was not unusual.

But when their baby was born with an unusual condition, the Torreblancas would have to travel much further to give her a chance at life.

Two days after Regina was born on November 20, 2010, an echocardiogram or “echo” revealed that she had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a serious and complex congenital heart defect that results in an underdeveloped left side of the heart. The hospital in Mexico City had limited experience with HLHS and gave the Torreblancas little hope. “The doctors told us that her condition is not compatible with life,” says Elizabeth.

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