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A Communication Service for Physicians from CHOC and CHOC at Mission. Please Note: Physician Connection is no longer being printed and is now available electronically. Please visit our blog at http://docs.chocchildrens.org for the latest articles for our physician community. You can also receive our electronic Physician Connection newsletter in your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list: http://www.choc.org/subscribe

Reputation Spurs Growth At The CHOC Heart Institute

The 5-year-old girl had significant functional insufficiency of a bicuspid aortic valve, and she had signs and symptoms of significant congestive heart failure. Pediatric cardiac surgeon Bleiweis, M.D., saved her life by performing the Ross procedure, a sophisticated valvular replacement technique offering particular advantages for children. It is available only at major cardiovascular centers.

In the past 10 years, the Ross procedure has been increasingly considered for pediatric patients with a wide spectrum of congenital abnormalities of the left ventricle outflow tract (LVOT). During the surgery, Dr. Bleiweis replaced the patient's aortic valve with her own pulmonary valve. After re-implanting the patient's coronary arteries, he replaced the pulmonary valve with a homograft.

"The advantage of replacing the aortic valve with the patient's own pulmonary valve is that it most likely will grow along with the child, potentially eliminating the need for future valvular replacement surgery. There is still a chance that AOVR may be necessary in the future; however, the Ross procedure offers a signifi- cant advantage over other valve replacement options, such as a mechanical valve," says Dr. Bleiweis, medical director of The CHOC Heart Institute. He adds that porcine valves and other bioprosthetic valves typically require replacement after a few years. Mechanical valves require patients to undergo anticoagulation therapy for the rest of their lives. Patients who undergo the Ross procedure do not need lifelong anticoagulation therapy and may have a higher resistance to infection. Five days after surgery, the patient went home. She continues to receive regular follow-up care at The CHOC Heart Institute. At her two-week post-operative appointment with Dr. Bleiweis, she was running around like any other 5-year-old. All in a day's work at The CHOC Heart Institute.


The CHOC Heart Institute has experienced major growth in patient volume over the last year, and Dr. Bleiweis believes he knows why. It's a matter of the word getting out.

"We have the capabilities to provide care for the entire spectrum of congenital cardiac diseases. Our results are outstanding, plus CHOC provides that caring, very human, personal touch," he says. "Our volume has grown for multiple reasons, including more patients from outside the county choosing to come here."

At The CHOC Heart Institute, multidisciplinary teams of specialists work closely together to provide the highest level of pediatric cardiovascular care available for young patients.

"The strength of our program is the multidisciplinary team approach which includes pediatric-trained cardiac surgeons, pediatric intensivists, pediatric cardiologists, pediatric anesthesiologists and CHOC cardiac nurses," Dr. Bleiweis says. "We're all excited about the growth we're seeing and by the way these five highly specialized multidisciplinary teams have come together for the benefit of our patients."

For more information or to arrange a consultation with The CHOC Heart Institute, please call 800-329-2900.


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .