Life-saving Innovation in Cardiac Care for Children

Hear the stories of two patients, Tyler and Julia, whose lives were transformed by innovative care at the Cardiac Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Handling more than 30,000 outpatient visits and 1,800 inpatient admissions annually, the Cardiac Center features one of the largest and most accomplished medical teams in the world.

Groundbreaking discoveries and lifesaving treatments are made possible through philanthropic donations of all sizes. When you donate to CHOP, you become part of our mission to find better treatments and support families.


Danielle Benscoter, Tyler's mom: Tyler was born with a congenital heart defect. We had anticipated at some point in his life that he may need a heart transplant but certainly not this early. He went into rapid heart failure this spring.

Joseph Rossano, MD: He was very sick in our ICU and really facing certain death. Historically we would have had no options to be able to effectively treat his heart failure but our surgeons were able to plant a ventricular assist device in him and support his circulation while waiting for a transplant.

Danielle Benscoter, Tyler's mom: The physicians at CHOP took something that, first of all, was meant for adults and put it in a 27-pound child. And then instead of putting it in his ventricle, they put it in his atrium on the right side of his body instead of the left side. So everything they did was essentially not what it was meant for and it works beautifully.

Joseph Rossano, MD: It's allowed him to survive and thrive and hopefully he will soon undergo a heart transplantation.

Julia Sykes: I was born with a congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Jonathan Rome, MD: Julia developed a problem where the blood that goes through the lungs doesn't pick up oxygen.

Julia Sykes: I started to feel more tired and worn out and they actually said that I'd probably have to get a heart transplant.

Jonathan Rome, MD: We wanted to try to see if we could figure out a way to somehow reroute the blood inside her body without surgery.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: Jack Rome sat and sort of puzzled through Julia.

Jonathan Rome, MD: We drew her anatomy, we did all this flow mapping and stuff and we finally came up with a way that we could rechannel the blood flow.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: He was taking bits and pieces of other stents and such that we use for other indications and putting them together in a completely unique way.

Jonathan Rome, MD: You know, a couple of months, her oxygen level was a little better, and a few months later, it was a little better and pretty soon, high enough so that it's virtually indistinguishable from normal and she got better.

Julia Sykes: And I didn't have to get a heart transplant so it was pretty incredible.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: She really is the embodiment of the successes that we've had in the past, the problems that we run into and with creative thinking, how we can solve these problems.

Jonathan Rome, MD: If you really wanna make an advance on a particular area, you need to have a continued stream of funding that allows you to work at it and especially if you wanna do really new things.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: We have, in recent years, made incredible important breakthroughs that nobody else has had in some of the most important issues affecting our patients. We really need the support of philanthropy to make that possible.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: People may not realize just how important their donation is and just how significant that is for us.

Joseph Rossano, MD: We can really point to patient by patient and innovation by innovation whether money’s being spent and how it's being used.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: Those innovations, those creative leaps, the ability for the doctors here to see a problem and come at it a different way opens the door for a whole new avenue of explorations.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: Solutions for patients in heart failure from all sizes.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: Therapies that would eliminate the need for heart caths or transplantations in the future.

Jonathan Rome, MD: Prototype devices and rapidly come to a position where they could actually be made and put into people.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: Placental studies, is there a point where we can intervene and maybe prohibit that heart disease from even happening in the first place.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: How addressing the lymphatic system directly can really improve the life of our patients.

Jonathan Rome, MD: It's all theoretical until you're faced with a kid or a young adult or an adolescent who has this acute problem and suddenly, you know, here is this child who's going to die and how am I going to help them; what can I do today, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, but today cause if I can't think of something, it's it for them.

Danielle Benscoter, Tyler's mom: Tyler's a perfect example of what giving an endowment to CHOP could be like, taking a child who's critically ill and allowing him to go home and be with his sisters and grow and learn and play.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: I can't think of anything more important than taking a child who has a fatal heart disease and getting them through to live to be a grandparent.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: What we've been able to do is give those patients hope, give those families hope and give those families the assurance that we're going to continue to do everything we can for them.

Danielle Benscoter, Tyler's mom: Helping these doctors pave the way for more kids and more families, there could be nothing more important in my opinion.

Stephanie Fuller, MD: From the bottom of all the hearts we touch, from the bottom off all the hearts we work on, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Joseph Rossano, MD: Thank you.

Julia Sykes: Thank you.

Matthew Gillespie, MD: Thank you.

Jonathan Rome, MD: Thank you.

Danielle Benscoter, Tyler's mom: Thank you.

Related Centers and Programs: Cardiac Center

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