Pediatric Cardiology Clinical Services
From simple arrhythmias to hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the Heart Program at Brenner Children’s Hospital delivers comprehensive diagnostic, treatment and management services individualized and customized to each child.
Early Detection of Heart Conditions
Our clinical team works closely with families when heart abnormalities or arrhythmias are detected in a child before he or she is born to prepare for the infant’s arrival. We provide a full spectrum of care for our patients in utero and as premature infants, young children, teens, young adults and throughout their lives.
Communication During Treatment and Care
We understand the important role that parents and families play in the treatment of children and young adults with heart conditions. Our health care professionals make sure that parents and other family members clearly understand each step in the treatment process and we maintain close communication with our patients’ families throughout their treatment period.
Pediatric Cardiology Services
The Arrhythmia Clinic of North Carolina Baptist Hospital at Brenner Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive treatment for children with heart rhythm problems through medications and medical and surgical technology. Clinical services for arrhythmia pediatric patients include:
- Radiofrequency ablation – The elimination of the heart muscle cells that trigger the arrhythmia through high-frequency radio waves sent into the muscle cells via a catheter
- Pacemaker implantation – The implantation of a small, battery-powered device that sends electrical signals to the heart to maintain a regular heartbeat
- Cryoablation – The use of extreme cold to remove dysfunctional heart tissue
- Advanced electroanatomic mapping –Displaying the interior of the heart in three-dimensional shape to detect the location of the heart problem
Cardiac Catheterization Lab/Interventional Cardiology
The Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Interventional Cardiology Group uses minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat heart conditions such as atrial septal defect (ASD), ventricular septal defect (VSD) and patient ductus arteriosus (PDA). Procedures offered by the lab include:
- Diagnostic catheterization – a long, thin tube is inserted in a patient’s body to inject a special dye, which shows narrowed areas in arteries and aids in assessing potential pulmonary problems
- Pulmonary vasodilator testing – A test to determine how much a patient’s pulmonary blood vessels can relax over a certain period of time
- Heart biopsy – A procedure in which a small piece of heart tissue is removed from the heart to aid in diagnosis
- Stent and coil placement – Treatment in which a tiny tube or coil is inserted into a blocked vessel to prop the vessel open and ensure it stays clear
- Balloon dilation – The opening of a blocked vessel using a balloon-like device at the narrowest spot in an artery
Echocardiography/Cardiac Imaging (cCT and cMRI)
Brenner’s Echocardiography and Cardiac Imaging Unit utilizes state-of-the art equipment, technology and techniques to diagnose heart problems and conditions in our pediatric patients. Diagnostic services and tools offered by this unit include:
- 3-D, real time echocardiography – Displays real-time images of the heart beating in three dimensions
- Computerized tomography angiography (CTA) – An x-ray in which contrast material is injected into a vein in order to obtain multidimensional images of blood vessels and heart tissues
- Magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance angiography (MRI/MRA) – Detailed images of the heart and major vessels are obtained through the use of magnetic fields and radio waves
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) – High frequency sound waves are used to obtain images of the heart’s valves and chambers
- Intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) – The exact location of a patent foramen oval (PFO) or atrial septal defect (ASD) is determined in order to accurately close the hole in a clinical procedure
Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
ECMO support provides oxygen to neonatal and young children during periods when their hearts and lungs are not working properly. The ECMO circuit at Brenner Children’s Hospital, one of the busiest ECMO programs in the country, is staffed by a team of trained specialists that uses this powerful treatment system to make sure our pediatric patients receive optimal oxygenation.
Exercise Physiology Lab
The Exercise Physiology Lab is a testing laboratory in which our health care professionals examine pediatric patients to determine whether or not heart problems affect their ability to run and play. In this lab, we utilize a variety of testing methods, including stress treadmill testing, to ascertain the level of heart health of our pediatric patients.
The Fetal Cardiology Unit at Brenner uses the latest in ultrasound technology to diagnose heart defects – the most common form of birth defects – before a baby is born. We then help families prepare for their baby’s arrival, including collaborating to create a plan for the safest delivery and care once the baby is born. Expecting parents can also meet a pediatric cardiologist and surgical team and tour the hospital prior to the special day of birth.
Marfan Syndrome Clinic
Marfan Syndrome is a disorder in which the body’s connective tissue is weakened, causing the aorta to stretch and dilate, or widen. This condition requires treatment to ensure that the aorta doesn’t tear and cause blood to leak out of the heart. While there is no cure for Marfan Syndrome, there are many ways to treat and manage the disorder.
The Marfan Syndrome Clinic at Brenner, led by Wesley Covitz, MD, utilizes extensive testing to determine if a child has Marfan Syndrome. Our team of experienced professionals then makes sure our pediatric patients receive the most effective regimen of treatment and management of the disorder so that they can live long and healthy lives.
Mended Little Hearts
Mended Little Hearts is a regional and national caring support group that works closely with the pediatric cardiologists at Brenner to inspire hope in patients and their families. Mended Little Hearts connects families with peers that have shared the experiences of caring for a child with heart disease. The group provides support through on-site hospital visits, communications via phone and the internet, group meetings and social events, and provides a wide range of educational resources for families. To learn more about Mended Little Hearts, contact the program coordinator at 336-466-0705 or winstonsalemNC@mendedlittlehearts.org.
Metabolic Syndrome Clinic
At the Metabolic Syndrome Clinic of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Cheryl Cammock, MD, and her team of health care professionals work closely with families to treat overweight children with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Clinic professionals assist families in implementing lifestyle changes in their children, including supporting better eating habits and exercise regimens.
Children with some heart conditions, such as conditions in which the heart beats too slow or too fast, may need to have pacemakers implanted in their bodies to ensure a regular heartbeat. At the Pacemaker Clinic, Matthew Hazle, MD, and his team of health care professionals provide continual monitoring and treatment for children who have had pacemakers installed.
Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic
The Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic of North Carolina Baptist Hospital at Brenner is the only clinic in the region that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension. Led by Derek Williams, DO, we use all available methods of testing, such as blood tests, chest x-rays, echocardiograms and cardiac catheterization, to effectively diagnose children with pulmonary hypertension. Once a diagnosis is made, our team of pulmonary hypertension clinical experts proceeds with a treatment plan using the most effective medications available.
The pediatric cardiologists at Brenner’s Heart Program use telemedicine – remote medical examinations conducted via audio and video – to view and interpret echocardiograms (ultrasounds of the heart) performed at doctors’ offices and hospitals throughout the region. Your child can have his or her echocardiogram conducted close to home, but still have our pediatric cardiology experts review the ultrasound to see if any heart problems exist.