Children's Hospital Colorado

Children’s Colorado, Mayo Clinic Announce Rare Congenital Heart Defect Collaboration

Children's Hospital Colorado | May 09, 2018
Dr. James Jaggers is shown in operation room scrubs

Mayo Clinic’s Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Children’s Colorado are collaborating to provide solutions for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare and complex form of congenital heart disease in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped. 

“We are thrilled that Children’s Hospital Colorado has joined the hypoplastic left heart syndrome consortium because it brings the research to more patients who may have otherwise had to travel in order to participate,” says Timothy Nelson, MD, PhD, director, Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. “It means that individuals with HLHS now have more options at their fingertips while the consortium members are coming together to accelerate finding new and better solutions for these patients.”

Upcoming surgery will inject baby's own stem cells into heart muscle

We’ve already taken advantage of this exciting new opportunity,” says James Jaggers, MD, chief of congenital cardiac surgery and co-director of the Heart Institute at Children’s Colorado. “In March, we had a mother deliver her baby with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and we collected cord blood to send to Mayo Clinic. When we perform heart surgery on this baby in the next three to four months, we’ll be ready to inject the baby’s own stem cells into the heart muscle, which, hopefully, will help make it even stronger.”

“After a child is diagnosed with HLHS, parents can feel helpless. However, by participating in this collaboration, they can potentially help improve their child’s outcome,” said Bettina Cuneo, MD, director of Fetal Cardiology in the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Bicoastal collaboration expands overall research opportunities

This announcement brings the total number of hypoplastic left heart syndrome consortium members to five: Mayo Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Children’s Minnesota and Children’s Colorado. The bicoastal collaboration is expanding the development of cell-based, innovative research opportunities to transform the lives of people living with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The consortium aligns regional centers into a nationwide collaboration led by the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome at Mayo Clinic to accelerate innovation on hypoplastic left heart syndrome, discovery sciences and clinical expertise by investing local resources back into research.

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