By Catherine Seigerman
was running out for a newborn in Winchester when his doctors contacted
U.Va. on New Year's Day. But through the new Virginia Children's
Heart Center, which connects pediatric cardiologists and U.Va.
specialists in communities throughout the state, heart defects
in 2-day-old Dhevi Mutharamalingam were accurately diagnosed and
was a very rare cardiac defect in newborns, one that an adult
cardiologist likely would have never seen or recognized,"
said U.Va. pediatric cardiologist Dr. Karen Rheuban, director
of the University's telemedicine program.
hampered quick access to a medical evacuation helicopter, and
U.Va. Health System
technicians who began the two-hour road trip had a vehicle breakdown
on the way. A Winchester technician activated the teleconferencing
equipment there to transmit the echocardiogram to Rheuban at U.Va.
She deciphered several problems -- an interrupted aortic arch
and hole between the ventricles.
we viewed the transmitted echocardiogram via the telemedicine
link, we realized we needed to begin this infant on a medication
called prostaglandin E1 immediately, and also that he would require
open heart surgery fairly urgently," she said.
medication saved the baby's life, said Dr. Edward Lee, the baby's
neonatologist in Winchester. The baby was then transported to
U.Va. and his heart was repaired the next day by Dr. Irving Kron,
chief of thoracic surgery and co-director of the Virginia Children's
Heart Center, along with Dr. Paul Matherne. Dhevi was in fair
condition, as of Jan. 11.
U.Va. pediatric cardiac surgery program treats 150 to 200 cases