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The Pulmonary Artery Reconstruction Program at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center is comprised of a multidisciplinary group of physicians from our cardiothoracic surgery, interventional cardiology, intensive care and anesthesia teams, as well as outpatient cardiologists, pulmonologists, otolaryngologists, geneticists and researchers. These specialists meet regularly to discuss all of the important aspects of care for our patients with pulmonary vascular disease.

Pulmonary vascular disease is the general term for conditions affecting the blood vessels that go between the heart and lungs and supply the blood with oxygen. These conditions are often associated with a congenital heart defect—a defect that is present from birth—or can develop over time and cause cardiovascular problems. The causes and kinds of pulmonary vascular disease can vary depending on which of the lungs’ blood vessels are affected.

What Sets Us Apart

We are one of only two pediatric heart programs in the United States that offer specialized treatment for children with pulmonary vascular disease and the only such program on the East Coast. Our program is unique because our team uses surgical techniques to treat complex areas of pulmonary vascular disease well past the midpoint of the lung, where the pulmonary vessels and arteries enter and leave, to perform high-quality surgical repairs, and we provide close surveillance over time.

By sharing ideas and collaborating across multiple disciplines in real time, we create comprehensive care plans that are specific to each patient’s individual needs. We also have a robust research lab  that is actively looking into the causes of pulmonary vascular disease development and is attempting to develop innovative treatments that we hope can be individualized for every patient.

In the Pulmonary Artery Reconstruction Program, we are a team with one goal in mind: to make our patients as healthy as possible and help them remain that way for the rest of their lives.

Heart conditions and defects we treat

This program treats patients with the diagnosis of major aortopulmonary collateral arteries (MAPCAs), isolated pulmonary artery of ductal origin (IPADO), pulmonary vascular disease associated with Alagille syndrome and Williams syndrome, and other difficult pulmonary artery surgical repairs. Many of these defects have limited treatment options and need a dedicated program to provide the best results.

Kinds of treatment

Every pulmonary artery abnormality is different, so we approach each case with an individual treatment plan. Our team meets weekly to collectively review data and create treatment plans for each pulmonary artery patient according to their specific needs, including individualized anesthesia protocols. Following interventions, we create plans for feeding, optimal lung health, surveillance of blood flow distribution and timing of reintervention. These tailored care plans aim to maximize healing and shorten the amount of time our pediatric patients need to stay in the hospital so they can get back to being kids.

Patients in our Pulmonary Artery Reconstruction Program are often able to lead normal lives after treatment. In many cases, they have normal pulmonary artery pressures and healthy ventricles, with full repair of their vascular disease. Most patients will need to see a pediatric cardiologist annually to monitor their health. We are dedicated to seeking innovations, medical techniques and methods of care through research, and we keep our patients informed of emerging treatments.

When Nathan’s family was told that his rare heart condition couldn’t be treated, the Children’s Heart Center’s Pulmonary Artery Reconstruction team stepped up with innovative treatments to save his life.

See his story