Good Guys wear Scrubs!

To paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson’s classic line from Snakes on a Plane (and clean up his language, children read this blog!) “Enough is enough! I have had it with Heart Defects in our kids!”

But don’t worry.

The good guys are coming. And they are bringing lots of weapons with them.

A conference held in July brought a group of medical experts together to study new and improved methods of Interventional Cardiology to repair Congenital Heart Defects. Interventional Cardiology is not heart surgery, but rather entering the body through a one inch incision and performing a cardiac repair with miniature surgical tools mounted on the end of a catheter. Typically after a catheter the patient is home in a few days and returns to active life in less than two weeks. These doctors are currently discussing and testing heart valve replacement by catheter rather than open heart surgery. You want heroes, I got 800 of them in Vegas… and they ain’t there to play the tables.

Meanwhile, researchers in Pittsburgh are studying Zebrafish to find the gene that causes Aortic Arch malformations. They’re studying Zebrafish in other ways, too. Not because he’s cute, but because a Zebrafish can regenerate his eyes, his spine, his fins, and his heart.  That crazy little fish can practically rebuild himself! Both Duke and Children’s Hospital Boston have studied the Zebrafish.

The researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin have discovered that mammals born with defective hearts are missing two genes. Who knows where this research will take us? A pill or an injection that can prevent heart defects?

And starting tomorrow morning (September 8, 2008) there is going to be a conference at Indiana University dealing with the subject “Heart Failure in the Young”. But don’t let the title fool you: They don’t plan to just address the issue, they plan to attack Heart Failure in the Young! They are going to study how to repair heart tissue, how to stop Heart Failure before it starts, and development at the fetal level that could lead to Heart Failure. And they are serious about this: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute granted $11.5 million dollars towards studying Children’s Heart Failure. Smart docs, an aggressive attitude, a major facility, and big bucks… and it’s all happening Back Home Again in Indiana!

We’ll beat Congenital Heart Defects yet!

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