Interviews with Our Cardiac Experts

Find out what makes the Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia so unique, and learn about the exceptional cardiac care we provide children with heart defects.

Transcript

Expert Interviews - A Brief Introduction

Yuli Kim, MD: The mission of the Cardiac Center here at CHOP really is dedicated to the care of the patient from fetus to adulthood.

Jack Rychik, MD: We are moving from a period of time in which we are focusing on diagnostics to now truly beginning to think about and implement strategies for intervention for treating disease before birth.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: The Heart Center is so unique specifically because it combines really the expertise of people on both sides. Both adult practitioners and pediatric practitioners working together to really assure the best quality care for the patients.

Jack Rychik, MD: Our goal is to, by virtue of having such a large clinical experience, take on the obligation of creating new information and new science and learn new things that we can then translate into clinical care.

Amy Jo Lisanti, MSN: We are really focusing on the developmental needs of our patients and the nutritional needs of our patients. So it's not just that they're surviving from their heart surgery, but they're thriving.

Elizabeth Hunter, BSN: It's so amazing to see a 2-year-old come out of open heart surgery and the next day be out walking around. It really, really makes you realize how strong these kids are and just how special they are.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: I think what is really important is truly understanding what is going to continue not only to create survivors, but what is also going to enhance the quality of life for all of our patients. And we're carefully working with clinical research in order to truly assess what other changes we can make as physicians in order to assure and guarantee patient survival.

Jack Rychik, MD - Prenatal Care for a Fetus With CHD

Jack Rychik, MD: Hello, my name is Jack Rychik. I'm the director of the Fetal Heart Program of the Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and I also play an additional role in being the director of the Single Ventricle Survivorship Program.

There are a number of very important and interesting and exciting new developments that are taking place in prenatal care, care before birth, for fetuses that have cardiovascular disease. One is the technological revolution that exists is allowing us to perform scanning of the fetus at earlier and earlier points in time. Whereas, even 10 years ago scanning of the fetus could take place at 18 or 20 week's gestation, we can now look at minute details of the fetal heart as early as 13 week's gestation and obtain a wealth of information about the state of the circulation and the cardiovascular system. Secondly, we are moving from a period of time in which we are focusing on diagnostics to now truly beginning to think about and implement strategies for intervention for treating disease before birth. There are catheter techniques that are available that can allow us to gain access to the fetal circulation and, in fact, perform catheter procedures, such as opening a narrowed valve or placing a stent in the heart.

Our goal is to, by virtue of having such a large clinical experience, take on the obligation of creating new information and new science and learn new things that we can then translate into clinical care.

We can also now begin to move into thinking about utilizing medications or other therapies, such as administering oxygen to mothers to help and modify the development of the fetal cardiovascular system.

They have a very important focus now on looking at the impact of a diagnosis of heart disease on the mother, on her levels of stress and how that influences family dynamics. We think not only is that important for the mother, but also that can influence the well-being of the fetus in a feedback loop. So a lot of research work underway now in measuring maternal stress and looking at the physiologic influence on the fetus.

I've been a member of the Cardiac Center and working here at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for over 20 years. Our field of congenital heart disease is still a quite young one, and there's still much that we don't understand. And over this relatively short span of 20 years, we've been able to truly change how we approach patients and how we manage our patients. It's that aspect of this particular field that I think is incredibly exciting and keeps me very much engaged in that one can think about innovations, one can begin to apply them towards individual patients, and one can make a major difference in the lives of our children through the efforts and the collaboration that exists within the Cardiac Center of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Yuli Kim, MD & Stephanie Fuller, MD - Phila. Adult Congenital Heart Ctr.

Yuli Kim, MD: Hi, my name is Yuli Kim and I'm the Medical Director of the Philadelphia Adult Congenital Heart Center.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: I'm Stephanie Fuller. I'm one of the cardiothoracic surgeons at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Yuli Kim, MD: We have a great program here that basically ensures a very smooth transition between your pediatric care and your transition to adult care.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: Because it combines really the expertise of people on both sides. Both adult practitioners and pediatric practitioners working together to really assure the best quality care for the patients.

Yuli Kim, MD: We are able to transition our pediatric patients from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to our program seamlessly. It's a great program in which we are able to meet our patients here at CHOP and introduce ourselves with our physicians, we have nurse practitioners, and a program manager. And the whole point of the program is really to ensure a very smooth switch over to adult care.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: I think what is really important is truly understanding what is going to continue not only to create survivors, but what is also going to enhance the quality of life for all of our patients. And we're carefully working with clinical research in order to truly assess what other changes we can make as physicians in order to assure and guarantee patient survival.

Yuli Kim, MD: It's a very rewarding process when you're able to see a patient who has undergone lifelong cardiac care at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, maybe having undergone many surgeries and interventional procedures, to grow up to be of childbearing potential and have kids of their own.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: I feel it's truly a privilege to be able to operate on patients, to have their families trust me, to have patients trust me. As cardiac surgeons, we operate for two reasons. One is so that we can actually assure that somebody is going to have a longer life. And the second reason is so that people can have a better quality of life. I think that's something that probably all of us wish we could give to those we love in our lives 100 percent of the time.

Yuli Kim, MD: I love my patients. My patients are so awesome. They're amazing people. Now, these are patients who have survived pediatric heart surgery. They've gone through everything and anything that you can imagine and they come through with a smile. And it's just amazing to see each and every one of these stories because they're so-- they're really amazing. And I really think it's a privilege to take care of these folks because they're just tremendous in what they've overcome.

Cardiac Nursing at CHOP

Amy Lisanti, RN: My name is Amy Lisanti. I am one of the clinical nurse specialists in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit here at CHOP.

Liz Hunter, RN: I'm a Cardiac Center nurse navigator.

Amanda Seelhorst, RN: My name is Amanda Seelhorst. I'm a clinical supervisor in the Cardiac Center.

Amy Lisanti, RN: My role is to help support nursing practice and improve the patient care that we give.

Liz Hunter, RN: There's a ton of people involved in their care team, but we really are their constant liaison. So if they have a question, even sorting out small logistics that they might feel uncomfortable asking a doctor about, we really are their constant as far as making sure that everything is taken care of so that their trip to CHOP is a positive experience.

Amy Lisanti, RN: One of the things that I think makes Cardiac Center Nursing so special and unique here is that we really are focusing on the holistic care of the patient, specifically, even with the infants, their developmental care needs, making sure that parents are able to bond with their infants.

Amanda Seelhorst, RN: The nurses, the physicians, the social workers, case management, child life, everyone working together. We all have the same goal for really making the patients' and families' experiences here as best as they can be.

Amy Lisanti, RN: We're not only having good surgical outcomes, but I think that we are really focusing on the developmental needs of our patients and the nutritional needs of our patients. So it's not just that they're surviving from their heart surgery, but they're thriving.

Liz Hunter, RN: It's so amazing to see a 2-year-old come out of open-heart surgery and the next day be up, walking around. It really, really makes you realize how strong these kids are and just how special they are.

Amy Lisanti, RN: Here at CHOP we care so much about our patients and our families, and we want to do whatever we can to help support them through the difficult time of having a child have to go through heart surgery or be an inpatient in the Cardiac Center.

Topics Covered: Congenital Heart Disease

Related Centers and Programs: Cardiac Center