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August 17, 2018

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June 30, 2017

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Snooze Newz: Volume 8, Issue 3
April 29, 2016

Snooze Newz: Volume 7, Issue 2
December 3, 2015

Snooze Newz: Volume 7, Issue 1
August 21, 2015


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Video Spotlight

CBS Sunday Morning News takes a look at the University of Oklahoma Anesthesia Department and their use of the OU College Of Medicine's Clinical Skills Education & Testing Center.
 
CBS Sunday Morning News

OU Medicine News

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information:
Vallery Brown
OU Medical Center/The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center
(405) 271-7900 X9
Cell: (405) 417-2401
Vallery.Brown@HCAhealthcare.com

 

CHILDREN’S HEART SURGEON IS HERO TO FAMILY OF SIBLINGS WITH CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT:

Innovative Treatments and Expertise Brought Them from Iowa

 

Oklahoma City — The name Harold holds a special place in the hearts of Christina DeShaw and her family of five.

It’s the middle name of her 3-week-old son, Miles. Her almost 4-year-old daughter, Ava, recently gave the name to a teddy bear she made for her new little brother. It’s no exaggeration to say the name Harold has almost superhero status in the family — that’s because it belongs to Dr. Harold Burkhart, the man who helped save the lives of Ava and Miles and has treated them both for hypoplastic left heart syndrome, also known as HLHS.

“When you’re in the trenches and you know your child’s life hangs in the balance … when someone helps you through that, they become part of your family,” said DeShaw, of Clive, Iowa. 

DeShaw first met Burkhart, co-medical director of the Children’s Heart Center and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon with OU Children’s Physicians, shortly after Ava was diagnosed with HLHS at her 18-week ultrasound appointment. Thankfully, her twin brother Aidan did not have the defect. The twins were born May 8, 2012.

At the time, Burkhart was a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic. The family was so impressed with Burkhart, they decided to go to Mayo for Ava’s treatment.

HLHS is a rare congenital heart defect in which the left side of a baby’s heart is severely underdeveloped and unable to pump an adequate blood supply throughout the body. The defect occurs in about one in every 4,344 babies born in the United States each year. 

Traditional treatment for babies born with HLHS involves three open-heart surgeries, typically performed within the first few years of life. The surgeries redirect blood flow through the heart. Often, heart transplants are required later on in life for these patients.

Burkhart, in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, is also conducting clinical trials involving cell-based therapies for HLHS. Their current research includes using umbilical cord blood collected from newborns with HLHS. During the second of three surgeries, the baby’s own cord blood cells are injected into the heart muscle.

Burkhart said therapy for HLHS babies has evolved over the past 30 years with dramatic improvements in surgical outcomes. However, there are still issues such as weak heart muscle that cannot be fixed with surgery. 

“We are now able to use blood cells from the umbilical cord of the baby to hopefully stimulate the heart muscle to grow stronger and multiply,” said Burkhart. “This is a new therapy in pediatric heart disease and we are fortunate to be a part of the first clinical trial.”

While Ava is a part of the trial, she wasn’t a candidate for the cord-blood injection, and has had only two of the three surgeries she needs. DeShaw said Ava is growing and spunky, but still needs to get stronger before her third surgery. Unlike Miles, Ava has had other health issues in addition to her HLHS diagnosis.

Miles, who was born at Children’s March 21 and had his first heart surgery soon after, likely will be a candidate for the cord-blood injection. DeShaw said she’s thrilled her children are getting the treatment they need while also helping to improve treatments for others with HLHS.

“We were told there was a probably a 3 percent chance we’d have another baby with HLHS after Ava,” DeShaw said. “This type of research helps us get better at pinpointing why it happens and helps us get better at diagnosing and ultimately treating the disease. The sky’s the limit in terms of what we can learn.”

Burkhart said the Mayo Clinic research lab processes the umbilical cord blood cells under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Nelson.

“While at Mayo, I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Nelson and take part in developing some of the processes we are using today with these children,” Burkhart said. “This is truly a collaborative relationship in which patients from both institutions benefit from our relationship.”

That relationship coupled with Burkhart’s expertise made him the family’s first and only choice when Miles was diagnosed with HLHS in utero. DeShaw and Miles are set to go home to Iowa this week and will return in a few months for Miles’ second surgery.

DeShaw wants families of children with heart defects like HLHS to know there is hope — that the journey is hard, but it’s possible. That’s also why she started a website and blog documenting her family’s journey. 

“I knew I could trust Dr. Burkhart. He brought my daughter through impossible circumstances, and I knew he’d take care of Miles, like Ava, and be on the journey with us,” she said.

DeShaw’s husband, Brad, along with twins Ava and Aidan, made the trip to Oklahoma City last month just days before Miles was born. Following Miles’ first heart surgery, Ava had the chance to hug her superhero and tell him thank you for taking care of her family.

“It serves to remind us how fortunate we are in that we are given an incredible opportunity to help children and their families in a meaningful way,” said Burkhart. “There is nothing more reaffirming than that.”

 

Click on this link for pool footage of baby Miles as well as photos:https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B1tCvfYwmzpkMlZ1d3p5LVpWMUE&usp=sharing

To view the media briefing online: http://www.uhatok.com/news/streaming

For more information about the collaboration between the Mayo Clinic’s Todd and Karen Wanek Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, click here, or go to www.oumedicine.com and look under News and Events.

 

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THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AT OU MEDICAL CENTER

The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center has 335 inpatient beds and is Oklahoma’s only freestanding comprehensive children's hospital. The Children’s Hospital’s pediatric staff  have years of specialized pediatric training with education, research and technology to treat conditions ranging from cardiothoracic and oncology-related illnesses to neonatal specialty care and pediatric solid-organ transplants. The Children’s Hospital is home to the state’s only children’s emergency department as well as an 88-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit providing the highest level of neonatal care in Oklahoma. Children’s was also one of the first hospitals in the country to provide total, comprehensive care for mothers and their newborns all in the same building. Additionally, the Children’s Heart Center is Oklahoma’s only comprehensive resource for the treatment of congenital defects and other heart ailments in children, led by the state’s experts in pediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery. The Children’s Hospital is nationally ranked in urology by U.S. News and World Report in its most recent survey. To find out more, visit www.oumedicine.com/childrens orwww.facebook.com/okchildrens.