The Alabama Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Children’s of Alabama continues to achieve unsurpassed results and bring the latest technology and procedures to children and adults with congenital heart disease in Alabama and throughout the Southeast. Despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic, the volume of patients has remained steady, demanding adaptability among the 300 members of the Heart Center.
The field of congenital heart disease is rigorously examined with several highly-participated registries, allowing centers to compare to each other and the national standards. The two most robust registries are the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Disease Database and the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium registry. Children’s is included with all the other major congenital heart disease centers in America, and the latest results reveal that both mortality and morbidity at Children’s are impressively lower than the mean. In fact, Children’s was asked to present on its management of patients with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, one of the most complex patient groups to manage, because Children’s mortality and major complication rates were less than half the national average. Even though these results are heartening and our overall mortality is less than one percent, efforts are now being directed on further decreasing morbidities. There is tremendous optimism that this will be accomplished with the collaboration and dedication of the Children’s Heart Center staff and the UAB physicians.
Another triumph for congenital heart disease patients is the development of transcatheter deployed valves. The recent approval of the Medtronic Harmony Valve has added another implant to the growing armamentarium of transcatheter deployed valves. The previously approved Medtronic Melody and Edwards Sapien S3 valves have limited usability in patients with a transannular patch repair for Tetralogy of Fallot and severe pulmonary valve insufficiency. Children’s was the first institution in the Southeast to implant the Harmony valve in patients, therefore obviating the need for an open-heart procedure. With the increasing success of operative palliations and repairs during the last sixty years, the adult congenital heart disease population is now considerably larger than the pediatric population. Increasing the number of options in minimally invasive therapies will improve the quality of life for these patients, allowing them to avoid major surgical procedures.
The advances in the comprehensive cardiac care at the Alabama Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center and the collaborative comradery of the team members have created an alignment of purpose which has made the care of patients tremendously rewarding and successful. The advances of the past decade make us optimistic to see the advances we will see in the future.
Yung Lau, MD is the Thomas N. Carruthers, Jr. Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cardiology at Children’s of Alabama and the Director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
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