Education & Research
Medical science is always evolving, advancing through the research findings of experts from around the world. Phoenix Children’s Heart Center experts take the lead in a variety of research studies and educational programs to advance our knowledge and treatment options for children with heart disease. Here are a few of the studies and presentations by our team.
The faculty of the Children's Heart Center at Phoenix Children's Hospital are dedicated to providing ongoing education to the community at-large, as well as the medical community in the entire Phoenix area. Through our many educational programs, we strive to ensure that our physicians practice the most state of the art, evidenced-based medicine and in doing so, improve patient outcomes. With our involvement with resident, student and nursing education programs, we hope to train the next generation of leaders to provide the very best care for children with congenital heart disease.
Nurses at the Phoenix Children's Heart center are dedicated and specially trained in pediatric cardiac intensive care. The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at Phoenix Children's has a dedicated nurse educator who, with the help of the physician team, provides ongoing training and education for the nurses in extensive courses held several times per year.
Continuing Medical Education
Each month, the Phoenix Children's Heart Center hosts several educational seminars which are designated by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education as CME credit. At our monthly Congenital Heart Center Journal Club, the multidisciplinary care team discusses the latest evidence to ensure best-practice for our patients. For our monthly Grand Rounds Lecture Series, many prominent physicians and experts in their field visit from all over the country to share their knowledge and experience.
Medical Student Education
Many of the faculty of the Phoenix Children's Heart Center hold academic appointments at both the University of Arizona and Creighton University School of Medicine and are actively involved in the education of medical students. Phoenix Children's is one of the main campuses for the students’ clinical rotations and senior medical students rotate through cardiology and the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit.
Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Fellowship
The field of pediatric cardiac intensive care is becoming increasingly complex and as the number of children living into adulthood with congenital heart disease grows, there is an increased need for highly specialized physicians to care for them. To meet this demand, the Children's Heart Center at Phoenix Children's offers a specialized fellowship training program in pediatric cardiac intensive care. This one year training program is intended to provide physicians with the specific knowledge base and experience needed to coordinate the comprehensive management of critically ill pediatric patients with heart disease and provide exposure to the most highly specialized cardiac intensive care technologies available.
The pediatric cardiology, cardiac intensive care and cardiothoracic surgery faculty of the Phoenix Children's Heart Center are actively involved in the Pediatric Residency Program at Phoenix Children's. Our faculty members work with the residency directors to shape resident curriculum and mentor pediatric residents during their rotations in pediatric cardiology and cardiac critical care. Our faculty also provides didactic teaching for the pediatric residents at several lectures each month to teach them the fundamental principles of pediatric cardiology and pediatric acute care and help residents prepare for their board exams.
Physicians at the Phoenix Children's Heart Center work with researchers and scientists to discover advanced options in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease. Since 2007, the Phoenix Children's Heart Center team has participated in national research studies to continue advancing the field as well as brings the latest technology and expertise to Phoenix Children's. Many members of the Phoenix Children's Heart Center team have lectured extensively and local, national and international conferences and meetings.
Here is an example of our work in pediatric cardiology research:
Advanced Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory - This laboratory focuses on in vivo and in vitro on single-ventricle heart physiology. Research is done to understand how the heart works when children are born with only half a heart as well as advance treatment for the diseases that cause this defect.
The electrophysiology team at Phoenix Children's has performed prospective non-invasive ambulatory monitoring and exercising stress testing to minimize shocks in children with internal cardioverter defibrillators. The arrhythmia service is also involved with TGEN (Translational Genomics Research Lab at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, Phoenix) to identify genetic etiologies for children at risk for cardiac chanelopathies and sudden death.
Cardiovascular Flow Dynamics
Physicians, in collaboration with Arizona State University, develop heart models in silicon of cardiovascular flow dynamics for personalized pre-operative surgical planning and advanced imaging. This project has recently won an innovative research award.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
There is currently a clinical trial of feeding protocols for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Many children born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome have feeding intolerance and other GI issues due to lack of blood to the intestine. Getting adequate nutrition into the children is very important to avoid enterocolitis and perforations.
The congenital heart center is participating in a “virtual pediatric intensive care unit (PICU)”. This nationwide program is compiling a database that collects outcomes data for PICU patients. The congenital heart center is contributing data and will be part of national clinical trials and data utilization.