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Boston Children's has launched the world's 1st program dedicated to offering hand transplants to children who qualify.
Innovation insider is a semi-monthly e-newsletter analyzes innovations at Boston Children’s, other academic medical centers and from industry.
Read the latest blog by a Boston Children's doctor, clinician or staff member.
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Today it's been 5 years since my son Matthew's A.V. Canal repair. I remember the nurses: Shannon, Jaime, and Patrick....They were so good with Matthew and with my husband and I.
If it wasn't for Children's Hospital and the Cardiac wing he wouldn't be here. Thank you all for what you have done for us and giving him a chance to grow in front of our eyes! Thank you Dr. Mah, Dr. Baird, and Dr. de Ferranti we owe you the world.
5 years ago today, I placed my one week old son in Dr. Emani's hands to repair his COA. I remember it like it was yesterday, and I'm thankful every day for the care we received at the Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital.
1 year ago today Dr Baird performed open heart surgery on Cayman. It did NOT slow him down. Today his heart is as good as new and he barely even has a scar. Thank you Dr Baird and everyone on the cardiac floor at Boston Children's Hospital.
Two years ago today we were at Boston Children's Hospital and our daughter, Emily, was having an aortic stent placed. We were told it would have to be replaced by the time she turned 2 (which was last June) but its still in place and working beautifully. We thank God every day for the amazing work of Dr. Gerald Marx and Dr. James Lock.
This weekend we celebrated our beautiful daughter, Mikayla's 1st birthday and that’s thanks to the amazing surgeons and staff on the 8th floor!! Mikayla was born with a rare diagnosis of Pentalogy of Cantrell which included several heart defects.
For more than 50 years, Boston Children’s cardiac specialists and investigators have played a vital role in the field of cardiac research, pioneering treatment approaches and major advances in the care and treatment of children with congenital and acquired heart defects. This work continues today as we regularly participate in cardiac clinical trials.
Innovations play a critical role in our patient’s health, so our Heart Center team is constantly creating new ways to improve care. Some are rooted in scientific research done in labs. Other improvements arise from moments spent at the bedside, when doctors and nurses see opportunities to improve current treatment methods.
An innovation may be “small,” like finding a creative way to help a young patient take her medication on time. Or it may be a big discovery that changes the entire field of pediatric heart care.
Here are some examples of our innovations that have helped us improve the survival rate and quality of life of children born with heart defects.
The Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital was founded in 1950 by Alexander S. Nadas, MD, and has grown to become the largest and one of the most respected pediatric cardiovascular programs in the world, with a history of cardiac care innovations.
2009: Institution of the Congenital Heart Valve Program, devoted to developing better ways of treating malfunctioning heart valves.
2008: Institution of Standardized Clinical Patient and Management Plans (SCAMP), a novel approach for developing better strategies for patient care.
2007: Institution of 24-hour in-house cardiac intensivist faculty coverage for the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.
2004: Institution of the Crisis Resource Management Program is established to train practitioners using cardiac simulation techniques.
2003: Since the inception of the Heart Transplant Program in 1986, Boston Children's cardiac surgeons have performed more than 150 heart transplants, making it one of the largest pediatric heart transplant programs in the country.
2003: Boston Children's continues to perform fetal interventions to treat congenital heart defects. Since the hospital's first attempt in March 2000, the Heart Center's Fetal Program has performed 15 fetal interventions, including 11 aortic valve balloon dilations, creation of three atrial septal defects and one pulmonary valve dilation.
2002: The first-ever successful in utero repair of a heart defect in a fetus is performed, resulting in the birth of a healthy baby.
2002: Boston Children's is the first pediatric center to obtain a surgical robotic system. The first procedures were performed in March 2002; since then the Department of Cardiac Surgery has carried out many robotic-assisted operations.
2002: Boston Children's is the first to perform robot-assisted surgery to correct a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a blood vessel present in fetal life that does not close properly, resulting in excess blood to the lungs.
2002: Laboratory Medicine investigator Nader Rifai, MD, co-authors a landmark study likely to alter federal guidelines for cardiovascular disease detection, showing that a simple and inexpensive blood test for C-reactive protein (CRP)—a substance produced in the liver when arteries become inflamed—is a more powerful predictor of a person's risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke than screening based on LDL cholesterol.
2002: HHMI investigator Mark Keating, MD, shows for the first time that zebrafish can regenerate heart muscle within two months after a severe injury. His team also identifies a possible genetic and molecular model for regeneration in zebrafish which could help direct further research that would benefit millions of people who suffer heart attacks or experience other forms of cardiac injury.
2001: Boston Children's clinicians care for a hemophiliac patient with life-threatening heart disease, making him the world's first hemophiliac to be placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and only the second to undergo a heart transplant.
2001: Boston Children's performs the world's first successful in utero treatment of hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in a 19-week-old fetus, threading a cardiac catheter through the fetus's atrial valve and inflating a balloon to widen the opening.
2000: Boston Children's Heart Center performs its 100th heart transplant.
1999: Thomas Jaksic, MD, introduces new laboratory techniques to analyze nutritional and energy requirements of the critically ill neonate, even those on life support and ECMO. These techniques have significant likelihood of influencing care for very sick neonates.
1999: The FDA approves the use of the CardioSEAL, a minimally invasive device developed at Boston Children's to repair holes in the hearts of the most seriously ill heart patients. The device is implanted with a cardiac catheter.
1999: Simon Hoerstrup, MD, grows replacement heart valves from the cells of sheep, an advance expected to lead to more durable valves than the mechanical and animal valves used today.
1996: Kathy Jenkins, MD, and James Lock, MD, develop the Webster-Jenkins basket catheter to provide rapid diagnostic information in mapping multiple sites of cardiac arrhythmias.
1990: Radio waves directed through a catheter correct a cardiac rhythm disorder called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, marking the first pediatric non-surgical repair of a cardiac arrhythmia.
1980: First “Norwood” repair of hypoplastic left heart syndrome by William Norwood, MD.
1972: First routine intracardiac palliation of complex congenital heart disease in infants by Aldo Castaneda, MD.
1938: Robert Gross, MD, performs the first successful surgical procedure to correct a congenital heart defect in a baby.
Boston Children's is one of the top pediatric research centers in the world. Our cardiovascular research program includes laboratory scientists and clinical researchers who investigate heart conditions from every angle – from examining cells under the microscope to tracking response to current drug regimens – so we can create better treatments for your child.
All senior medical staff members of the Boston Children's Heart Center participate in clinical research activities, and many do laboratory research as well.
Our Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory houses a multidisciplinary team of investigators involved in basic and applied research who study mechanisms of heart disease and new treatments for children with congenital heart defects.
The principal areas of active research are:
The division also is developing a fetal cardiac surgery laboratory that will be conducting several clinical research projects including those to:
Pediatric Heart Network (PHN)
Boston Children’s Hospital is a member of the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), a group of American and Canadian hospitals that conducts research studies in children with congenital heart defects or acquired heart diseases. It was started in 2001 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in order to conduct carefully designed clinical trials in patients with congenital or acquired heart conditions. Since its inception, many important studies have been conducted at the children’s hospitals affiliated with the PHN, with research teams that specialize in the care of patients with heart disease. All centers do the same studies in order to increase the total number of patients needed for each study and therefore obtain meaningful results. Boston Children’s Hospital has been a leader in this critically important collaborative effort involving cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses.
In addition to organizing and making possible life-saving research in pediatric cardiovascular disease, the PHN is also a helpful resource for parents, patients and healthcare professionals. Learn more about the PHN and its clinical studies:
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”