Philadelphia, Pa. (PRWEB) April 29, 2014
The important guidelines released by the AHA recently aim to improve care for babies with congenital heart disease while they are in the womb. Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects, affecting one in 120 babies. As a leading Cardiac Center in the U.S., and renowned throughout the world as leaders in pediatric cardiac care, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has an exceptional level of expertise in providing care for babies diagnosed with birth defects, both before and after birth.
Jack Rychik, M.D., director of the Fetal Heart Program in the Cardiac Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was the senior author on the statement: Diagnosis and Treatment of Fetal Cardiac Disease, was published in the recent issue of the American Heart Association journal, Circulation. This landmark paper focuses on the fetus as a patient, still a relatively new concept in the medical community.
With the ongoing research in how to influence the natural course for congenital heart disease much research has been conducted on how to change the outcome for babies with these conditions before birth. With our extensive expertise in fetal medicine and intervention, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has long focused on the fetus as a patient and has contributed significantly to our current understanding and management of heart disease before birth.
The Cardiac Center at CHOP had major research contributions to the newly released AHA guidelines.
CHOP’s unique cardiovascular scoring system, developed by the Cardiac Center and the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP, measures the existence and progression of cardiovascular changes, a common complication in twin anomalies, resulting in more informed treatment decisions for twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). TTTS is a condition in which the blood passes unequally between identical twins that share a placenta. When laser therapy is indicated as a treatment option, the team studies the patient's cardiac function scores before treatment, 24 hours after the procedure and at the patient's one-week follow-up appointment to determine the response to the intervention.
Dr. Rychik and the Fetal Heart Team published research on maternal stress recently published in an issue of The Journal of Pediatrics. Prenatal diagnosis of CHD is a traumatic event for most pregnant women. In this study, researchers found that a substantial proportion of mothers exhibited evidence for traumatic stress, with nearly 40 percent exceeding clinical cut-off points for post-traumatic stress disorder. The style of counseling for expectant parents needs to be assessed and the way information is conveyed to families must be carefully shared. Stress reduction techniques are certainly beneficial to the mother and may in fact be beneficial to the baby’s outcome as well.
Over the past 15 years, The Fetal Heart Program, in conjunction with The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, has evaluated thousands of mothers carrying fetuses with heart disease and provides a unique collaborative approach to the comprehensive care of mother and fetus. A team of dedicated fetal cardiologists, fetal heart sonographers and nurse coordinators offers state of the art care. Both maternal and fetal care is optimized through delivery in the Garbose Special Delivery Unit, a delivery unit specifically dedicated to mothers who are delivering a baby with a severe birth defect that needs to have an intervention either before or immediately after birth.
About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program receives the highest amount of National Institutes of Health funding among all U.S. children’s hospitals. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 535-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.