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CHILDREN’S OF ALABAMA OPENS BRUNO PEDIATRIC HEART CENTER - Pediatric Cardiovascular Inpatient Services Relocate from UAB

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Oct. 15, 2012) – The Joseph S. Bruno Pediatric Heart Center at Children’s of

Christian Ellington, age 4 of Phenix City, was among the first heart catheterization patients in the new Bruno Pediatric Heart Center on Monday
Christian Ellington, age 4 of Phenix City, was among the first heart catheterization patients in the new Bruno Pediatric Heart Center on Monday.

Alabama officially opened over the weekend as the first patients were transferred to Children’s new facility from UAB Hospital.

Located within the recently-opened, 12-story Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, the Bruno Pediatric Heart Center provides comprehensive inpatient cardiac care through a unique partnership with UAB. It is, in essence, a heart hospital within a hospital, offering specialized pediatric cardiovascular surgery, cardiology, interventional cardiology, cardiac intensive care and anesthesia. Pediatric Cardiology’s outpatient clinic will remain on the ninth floor of the UAB Women and Infants Center.

The Bruno Pediatric Heart Center, which occupies the entire fourth floor of the Russell Building, includes a 20-room cardiovascular intensive care unit, two dedicated surgical suites, three heart and vascular catheterization labs and four dedicated extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) rooms. The floor directly connects via skywalk to the UAB Women and Infants Center to provide quick and efficient access for the physicians and surgeons to their pediatric patients, as well as for the immediate transport of newborns requiring specialized care for congenital heart ailments. A 16-room cardiac care unit for telemetry-monitored patients is located on the Russell Building’s eighth floor.

The cornerstone of the Bruno Heart Center is its innovative pediatric hybrid catheterization suite, the only one of its kind in the state of Alabama. The hybrid cath lab is equipped with $3 million worth of state-of-the-art technology that allows it to be immediately converted to a CV surgical suite, eliminating the need to bring the child out of anesthesia for a second procedure in a different room. Interactive technology provides teaching opportunities and teleconferencing capabilities that can be accessed from down the hallway or the other side of the world.

Prior to the move, many pediatric cardiac patients were admitted to Children’s prior to surgery and transferred to UAB for heart surgery and post-operative care. The relocation of CV services to Children’s streamlines the pathway of care for these high-risk patients and their families. Most importantly, it combines, under one roof, the nationally-renowned expertise of UAB physicians and surgeons with the highly specialized care that is unique to Children’s, the state’s only hospital dedicated solely to pediatric healthcare.

“The opening of the Joseph S. Bruno Pediatric Heart Center is the culmination of a long-time vision shared by Children’s and UAB,” said Children’s CEO Mike Warren. “Some feared this goal would never be attained. But today, for the first time in the history of both institutions, we are able to provide truly comprehensive care to children with congenital heart disease. This powerful partnership allows UAB’s renowned doctors to bring their medical expertise directly to the bedside of our young patients in a way that ensures the best possible outcomes for these children.”

The single platform of care created by the physical connection between the Bruno Pediatric Heart Center at Children’s and the adult heart surgical facilities at UAB streamlines the care provided by a multidisciplinary team of specialists including surgeons, cardiologists, intensivists, anesthesiologists, neonatologists and geneticists as well as experts in pediatrics and fetal and maternal medicine. Pediatric CV surgery, cardiology, interventional radiology and anesthesia work jointly and in concert with the UAB Pediatric Cardiology Clinic, Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit/Continuing Care Nursery, obstetrics and adult congenital heart services to address the medical and surgical needs of heart patients as concerns arise. Through this unique approach, patients receive a seamless continuum of care that begins at birth and follows them throughout adulthood.

The history of UAB’s congenital heart surgery program dates back more than a half century to the early days of open heart surgery and Dr. Champ Lyons. In 1966, Dr. John Kirklin, who performed the world’s first series of open heart operations using a heart-lung machine, came to UAB from the Mayo Clinic and teamed with pediatric cardiology pioneer Dr. Lionel (Mac) Bargeron to create a program to provide care for patients with congenital heart disease.  Forty years later, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. James Kirklin, pediatric cardiologist Dr. Yung Lau, and pediatric cardiovascular intensivist Dr. Jeffery Alten joined forces to build the multidisciplinary program that is now based at Children’s.

James Kirklin and Lau head the pediatric cardiovascular services program at the Bruno Pediatric Heart Center. Other physicians are Jeffrey Alten, MD; Robert Dabal, MD; Ed Colvin, MD; Waldemar F. Carlo, MD; Walter Johnson, MD; Mark Law, MD; William McMahon, MD; Bennett Pearce, MD; and Robb Romp, MD; Ralph Lyerly, III, MD; Jack Crawford, MD, PhD; Colleen Henling, MD; William Gurley, Jr., MD; Brad Steenwyk, MD; Stephen Robert, MD; Santiago Borasino, MD, MPH; Rune Toms, MD; and Kimberly Jackson, MD.

The Joseph S. Bruno Pediatric Heart Center was named in memory of legendary Alabama businessman Joe Bruno who opened a downtown Birmingham grocery store in 1932 with his $600 in life savings, and over the next 60 years built it into a publicly-traded, multi-billion-dollar chain. He was known for his generous philanthropy. The Joseph S. Bruno Charitable Foundation was established after his 1996 death to continue his faithful giving. A $3.9million gift to Children’s funded the pediatric heart center.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past three years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 634,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 47 other states. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Children’s recently moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children.