Newborn and Pediatric Echocardiography Close to Home Makes a difference to local families
09/10/2013 - GVMC News
RONCEVERTE - About 40,000 children are born in the U.S. with a heart defect each year. Surgery is often necessary and many medical treatments are available to help the heart work properly.
Echocardiography (echo) is a procedure used to assess the heart's structures and function. Pediatric echocardiography is mainly used for the detection of congenital heart defects. It is also used for the evaluation of murmurs and is an essential tool to evaluate the effectiveness of medical therapy and surgical treatments.
An echocardiogram is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create an image of the heart's internal anatomy. Two-dimensional echocardiography is often combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler ultrasound to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of the heart. Echocardiography is the use of ultrasound to examine and measure the structure and functioning of the heart.
Beginning in 2011, ultrasound technologists from Greenbrier Valley Medical Center (GVMC) received training and certification for performing neonatal and pediatric echocardiograms. Dr. John Phillips, a leading pediatric cardiologist located in Morgantown at WVU Hospitals, provided guidance and training experience for the technologists.
Starting in August of 2012, Greenbrier Valley Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in the state to begin Pulse Oximetry Screening of all newborns, after passage of “Corbin’s Law” by the WV Legislature. Local mother, Ruth Caruthers helped push through “Corbin’s Law” mandating the screening for congenital heart disease in all WV hospitals, in honor of her son Corbin who was born February 20th, 2011 with multiple heart defects and sadly passed away at three months old after his third heart surgery.
Infants who have a positive screening for congenital heart disease no longer have to be immediately transferred to another facility for further evaluation. Now, a baby at Greenbrier Valley Medical Center can receive an ultrasound echo of the heart while a specialist who is located in Morgantown will review the echo while it is being performed in Ronceverte. Telecommunications equipment allows physicians, technologists and patients see and speak to each other via high definition video screens.
Telecommunication connections from a community hospital to a medical specialist in a tertiary care facility like WVU provide easier and quicker access to specialists for newborn consultations. In some cases, expensive ambulance transport may be avoided if a high risk medical condition is ruled out before the patient leaves the home hospital.
The WV Perinatal Partnership and Charleston Area Medical Center collaborated on this project to assure that rural hospitals providing maternity and newborn care have the capability to telecommunicate with physicians and hospitals that provide expert medical consultation.
GVMC is the only hospital in the state to be doing neonatal and pediatric echocardiograms using telecommunication
The project’s outcome will ultimately improve birth outcomes, infant mortality, and decrease medical costs associated with these high risk conditions. For more information, or to learn more about WVU Telemedicine services, please visit their website at: http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/telemedicine.