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Inside Pediatrics Podcast

BIRMINGHAM – Children suffering from congenital heart disease often require the care of a pediatric subspecialist like the ones found at The Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center of Alabama at Children’s of Alabama.

The Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center of Alabama provides pediatric cardiac care for more than 12,000 patients a year. Staff performed 675 cardiac catheterizations and 479 cardiovascular surgeries, including 12 heart transplants, in 2017. The center includes 20 private CVICU rooms, 16 private CCU rooms, two cardiovascular operating rooms and two catheterization labs.

This “heart hospital within a hospital” represents a five-decade tradition of superior cardiovascular clinical care and research dedicated solely to children. This single platform of care includes surgeons, intensivists, cardiologists and many others, including nurses, social workers, child life specialists, counselors, nutritionists, occupational and physical therapists and chaplains.

The Mending Kids’ Hearts specialty tag was introduced in 2017. It can be purchased at any Alabama Department of Motor Vehicle location for a cost of $50, of which $41.25 will go to Children’s. When state residents renew or purchase a Mending Kids’ Hearts specialty car tag, they are providing valuable funds for patient care, research and specialized physician training for the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Children’s. For more information about the Mending Kids’ Hearts specialty tag, visit www.childrensal.org/heart-month.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) affects about 40,000 births per year in the United States, or about one percent of all births. CHD kills more children each year than all the cancers combined and is the top killer of children born with developmental abnormalities. Survival of infants with CHD and other congenital defects depends on how severe the defect is, when it is diagnosed and how it is treated. Children with CHD are about 50 percent more likely to receive special education services compared to children without birth defects.

In addition to the medical costs, families of children with congenital heart disease can face other costs, such as lifestyle changes, emotional stress, family uncertainty and being unable to return to work in order to care for their child.

“Heart disease in children may seem rare. However, heart defects, which usually present during childhood, are the most common birth defects, and most heart defects have no known cause,” said Division Director Yung Lau, M.D. a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). “Each of the 250 dedicated professionals who work at the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center of Alabama feel very fortunate to be part of the team providing world-class cardiac care for our patients. As Children’s recognizes February as Heart Month, we invite the public to learn more about our cardiology clinical and research programs and help raise awareness about pediatric and congenital heart disease.”

Join Children’s of Alabama this February in recognizing National Heart Month and the child heroes in our care through the following events:

  • Children’s Russell Building will be illuminated in red in honor of National Heart Month throughout February.
  • Children’s website will feature a variety of videos about some of the young patients being treated for cardiovascular disease. The public is invited to visit www.childrensal.org/heart to meet these remarkable youngsters and donate online.
  • The public is invited to share its stories of patients who have fought heart-related illness and injury at www.childofchildrens.org.
  • Children’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, blog, podcast and YouTube channel will feature patient stories that spotlight patients, families and staff all month.
  • Children’s will host the free Journey of the Heart Cardiovascular Workshop to enhance the understanding of children with congenital and acquired heart disease at its Russell Campus on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Seating is limited. Contact Paula Midyette at paula.midyette@childrensal.org for details.
  • Looking for a special Valentine’s Day gift? Shop with AmazonSmile, and Amazon will make a donation to Children’s of Alabama. Visit https://smile.amazon.com and select “Children’s Hospital of Alabama.” For eligible purchases, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate a percentage of the purchase price to Children’s.
  • Planet Fundraiser is an app that enables you to raise funds for a cause through everyday purchases. Download the free app at http://home.planetfundraiser.com/ and select Children’s of Alabama. Shop at supporting merchants, snap a picture of the receipt and a percentage of the purchase will be given to Children’s.
  • The 3rd Annual Captain D’s Castin’ ‘N Catchin’ fishing tournament to benefit the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Children’s of Alabama will be held Saturday, April 14 at Goose Pond Colony Resort (417 Ed Hembree Drive, Scottsboro, 35769). Online registration is available at www.castinncatchin.org.
  • The 5th Annual Harper’s Heart Run will be Saturday, Sept. 29 at Buffalo Wild Wings (2505 Caufield Drive, Gardendale). Proceeds from the run benefit the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Children’s of Alabama. More information is available at www.harpersheartrun.com.

Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 45 other states and six foreign countries last year, representing more than 677,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 2 million square feet, Children’s is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. More information is available at childrensal.org.