As a practicing physician-scientist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I am faced regularly with stories from the heart: Infants born prematurely with immature myocardium and infants born with congenital heart defects. However, the current research evidence is limited to answer these essential questions:
Our mission in the Neonatal/Congenital Heart Laboratory is to fill important gaps of current knowledge and address unmet needs towards precision child health cardiovascular medicine. Starting with important clinical observation, we test our questions in the laboratory, equipped with state-of-the-art molecular genetics tools and disease models, including mouse, zebrafish and cell model systems. Ultimately, the outcome of our studies will pave the way to novel knowledge, new preventive strategies and improved therapies for the newborn infants with Congenital Heart Defects.
Her name is Maggie.
I met her before she was born.
I told her: 'We will be there in the delivery room waiting for you. We will do our best to support your little heart.'
Her mom and dad were fully aware of her condition.
Before us, they met with many other physicians.
They were aware that Maggie had a problem with her little heart, that she will likely be sick.
She will need to stay in the newborns intensive care, she will probably need a tube and a machine to support her breathing.
She will not be able to breastfeed.
She will need several surgeries to fix her heart, and multiple lines and monitors will be connected to her body...
They knew that it will be a while before she can go home..."