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Medical Team travels to Peru to help children suffering from heart ailments - Volunteer dental team will also offer services
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Date: 10/09/2007
Contact: Amy Albin ()
Phone: 310-794-8672

Dr. Juan Alejos, a pediatric cardiologist from Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, will lead a team of more than 40 volunteers traveling to Peru to help several hundred children suffering from heart conditions from Oct. 20 to Nov. 4.

The volunteers, primarily from UCLA, with others from Boston Children's Hospital and Delaware's Nemours Cardiac Center, include cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric cardiologists, family practitioners, anesthesiologists, nurses and volunteers, as well as pediatric dentists, who will provide dental care.

The group will offer their services at two hospitals in Arequipa - the Carlos Aberto Seguin Escobedo National Hospital and Hospital Goyeneche. They will also send a small team to Cuzco to see patients. In addition, the volunteers will perform evaluations on children from several orphanages in both areas.

"We will do cardiac catheterization procedures, interventional and diagnostic procedures, echocardiograms, surgical interventions, and dental evaluations," said Alejos, associate clinical professor of cardiology at Mattel Children's Hospital.

Overall, Alejos said, the team plans to perform 25 open heart surgeries, 30 cardiac catheterizations, six automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator and pacemaker placements, 60 dental procedures, hundreds of echocardiograms, and clinical evaluations.

The group has secured an extensive donation of medical supplies, including catheters, cardiopulmonary bypass pumps and surgical supplies, from companies such as Medtronic, Kaiser-Permanente, Argon Medical Devices, Cook Medical, AGA Medical Corp., PFM Medical and many others.

Alejos, whose family is originally from Peru, founded the nonprofit Corazones Con Esperanza (Hearts With Hope) Foundation, whose mission is to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to children with congenital heart disease in Mexico and Latin America.

"It is a very special feeling to go back and help, even a little bit, in the area where my parents grew up," he said. "It reminds me of why I became a doctor - just people helping people."