Stories about: Heart Week

Heart week: New hope for kids waiting for transplant

fynn_thompson_250Tonight at 10 p.m. Boston Med features heart surgeon Dr. Francis Fynn-Thompson as he works to save the life of Sara Dumas, a teenage patient with a life-threatening congenital heart defect.

If you’re an adult who suffers heart failure, there are a number of devices that can support your heart and keep you healthy until you receive a donor heart. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for kids, and as many as 20 percent of kids waiting for a transplant die before an organ is available. Luckily, Dr. Fynn-Thompson is working to get a new artificial heart device—one designed specifically for kids—approved for use in the United States. Read on to learn about 12 year-old Keenan Griffin,  who went into rapid heart failure and was saved by the use of the pediatric heart device.

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Heart week: life after pediatric heart surgery

Thanks to medical advances, over 90% of kids born with CHD now live to adulthood
Thanks to medical advances, over 90% of kids born with CHD now live to adulthood
Prior to the late 1930s, if your baby was born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), chances are doctors suggested you save for a funeral instead of college funds or wedding dowries. Morbid but practical advice; at the time, less than 20 percent of pediatric CHD patients lived to see adulthood. But thanks to advancing technology and the brilliant minds and hard work of many dedicated medical professionals, this type of bleak worldview is no longer applicable to most babies born with a CHD. Current data shows that over 90 percent of children born with one of these heart conditions now survive to adulthood.

This incredible success has led to an unexpected new medical specialty: caring for adult survivors of CHDs who experience later-life complications from their original conditions and treatments.

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Heart week: A history of cardiovascular excellence

Children’s has been a leader in pediatric cardiovascular research and treatment for decades. Here’s a quick look at the innovation and success the hospital’s cardiovascular teams have brought to the field over the years.

stethoscope11938 Robert Gross, MD, performs the world’s first successful surgical procedure to correct a congenital cardiovascular defect.

operation11952 Robert Gross, MD, develops the first successful surgical closure of an atrial septal defect, a hole in the wall between the heart’s two upper chambers.

1983 William Norwood, MD, develops the first successful surgical intervention for hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a previously fatal defect in which an infant is born without a left ventricle. Since Norwood’s intervention, Children’s has been using the technique to better the lives of many children, like Sam Peerless, the baby with HLHS who was saved by Children’s doctors and featured in a recent episode of Boston Med.

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Heart week: our patients and families share their amazing stories

Parker medical smileThe human heart, no bigger than a fist, is the hardest working muscle in your body. On average, it pumps out two ounces of blood with every heartbeat, and moves about 2,500 gallons of blood each day. But that’s only when a person’s heart is functioning correctly. When a person’s heart is sick, medical complications can be potentially fatal, especially in young children whose smaller sized hearts can complicate treatment.

Children’s Hospital Boston is a leader in pediatric cardiovascular care, and has been since 1938, when Children’s doctor Robert Gross, MD, performed the world’s first successful surgical repair of a congenital heart defect.

This Thursday at 10 p.m., Boston Med will feature Children’s doctors Francis Fynn-Thompson, MD, and Elizabeth Blume, MD, as they work together to save the life of a teenage patient with a life-threatening congenital heart defect. In honor of the episode, Thrive is devoting this week’s coverage to pediatric cardiovascular conditions, their research and treatment here at Children’s. Here are some stories about Children’s heart patients that we’ve helped over the years.

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