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Pediatric Cardiology Research

Members of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology are engaged in multiple research projects to advance the care of children with heart disease.

Basic Science

An exciting new area of investigation is the development of biodegradable stents for use in the cardiovascular system. Current research is directed at an evaluation of the tissue response to these materials in animals. Cardiopulmonary bypass is known to have adverse effects on neurologic development, but a clear understanding of the mechanisms is lacking. Using a mouse model of bypass, investigation is underway to evaluate biomarkers of injury.

Another new area of investigation is to optimize cardiovascular support therapy for pediatric patients with end stage heart failure. Currently the only ventricular assist devices available require surgical placement. We are investigating in an animal model the feasibility of a catheter delivered device. One additional animal research area is the optimization of technologies for fetal intervention.

In close cooperation with the Department of Radiology, we have access to the Advanced Imaging Research Center at UT Southwestern. This gives our staff members access to novel cardiovascular research technology to contribute to existing research as well as designing their own research projects.

Clinical Sciences

The Pediatric Cardiology Division participates in multiple multicenter trials. In interventional catheterization, current trials are assessing various devices, including the Amplatzer and Helex occluders, and management of coarctation, including the placement of stents. It is anticipated that a recently completed multicenter trial of athletic screening processes will be used for a broader national evaluation.

We are contributing to a quality initiative to assess the care of patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. A multicenter effort is also underway to evaluate the use of ventricular assist devices in the pediatric population.

Collaborative studies within the Department of Pediatrics include protocols to evaluate stroke, migraine, and complications of sickle cell disease and childhood cancer.

Ongoing areas of research interest include epidemiologic studies of congenital heart disease, particularly within the state of Texas, natural history studies of patent ductus arteriosus in pre-term neonates, MRI evaluation of pulmonary hypertension and for post-operative tetralogy of Fallot, evaluation of renal function with heart catheterization, markers for cardiac transplant rejection, and innovations in noninvasive cardiac monitoring.