Kentucky Children’s Hospital has begun performing pediatric heart surgeries in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, physicians announced Friday.
The program follows a “one program-two sites” model, with identical programs at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, part of UK HealthCare in Lexington, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. The program means pediatric patients can once again undergo heart surgery and other related procedures in Lexington.
The pediatric heart surgery program was voluntarily shut down at Kentucky Children’s Hospital in 2012 following a rise in mortality rates. A letter of intent with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital was signed September 2015, with pediatric heart surgeries beginning again this year.
One of the first patients to undergo surgery in the new program was Magdalen Wilson of Nicholasville. About a month and a half before she was born, Magdalen’s parents, Thom and Lauren Wilson, were told she might have a congenital heart defect. After several trips to Louisville to meet with doctors, Magdalen was born with several congenital heart defects, although there were no immediate problems.
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When Magdalen was about three months old, she stopped feeding. The Wilsons took their daughter to Kentucky Children’s Hospital, where she would eventually undergo open heart surgery on July 5.
The Wilsons said choosing care at Kentucky Children’s Hospital was an easy choice, since it was much closer to home. The Wilsons, who have three other children, said they no longer had to take full days off from work or arrange childcare when going to doctor’s appointments.
“We made the decision at that point to transfer our care to UK … because it was close to home and the doctors and cardiologists we encountered in the pediatric intensive care unit were attentive and showed great concern for Magdalen’s well-being,” Lauren Wilson said.
“I just really came to appreciate this place,” Thom Wilson said.
Magdalen is now able to feed on her own, and is doing well after her open-heart surgery, he added.
Her surgery was performed by Dr. James Quintessenza, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Quintessenza said the program was “a great opportunity,” and the chance “to provide really excellent care” to children in Lexington.
Dr. Andrew Redington, chief of pediatric cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said the program provides “tremendous relief for parents,” and at the same time, improves the quality of care offered at both Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
“What we want to do is provide the best level of care for as many children as possible, and as close to home as possible,” Redington said. “We are all delighted that the first cases have done well, and anticipate ongoing success in the years to come.”
Monica Kast: 859-231-1320, @monicakastwku