Coronary Artery Clinic One of a Few Nationwide

This new multidisciplinary clinic offers highly specialized care to patients with coronary artery issues using the latest knowledge in the field.

A new clinic out of the Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute focuses on care for children with coronary artery issues. Having formally opened in January 2017, the Coronary Artery Clinic is one of just a few such clinics in the United States, and the only one in the Midwest.

“We were finding that there was a lot of practice variation for coronary artery disease patients. We wanted to make sure patients were being followed using the guidelines that are in the literature about how this particular patient population should be managed,” explains Thomas R. Kimball, MD, current director and founder of the Coronary Artery Clinic.

The two primary populations served by this clinic are those with Kawasaki disease, which is an acquired disease that can affect the coronary arteries, and those with congenital heart defects that involve the coronary arteries. Because these are lifelong conditions, the team treats all ages up to adulthood.

Clinic Involves Many Disciplines

One of the strengths of this clinic is its multidisciplinary makeup. The team incorporates expertise in congenital heart disease and cardiac imaging, along with an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner, pharmacist, adult cardiologist and preventive cardiology specialist.

In addition, a psychologist is on board to counsel families on related mental health issues, including providing therapy for kids who have had a sudden death event and have been resuscitated, and might have fears about returning to play.

Keeping Current with Best Practices

Changes came out to the Kawasaki guidelines about the same time the Coronary Artery Clinic was formed. Because this team stays up-to-date on the latest literature, they knew about the new guidelines immediately and took steps to ensure their care complied.

“Treating these conditions can be challenging because the coronary artery problems are relatively rare but critical in children,” says Sean Lang, MD, associate director of Cardiac MRI, who is transitioning into directorship of the program. “We are focusing on standardizing the imaging and management to have a better understanding of what are the best treatment options for each patient.”

Lang is excited about continuing the vision of the Coronary Artery Clinic, and expanding it. “Patients are already coming from across the country,” said Lang. “These are world-wide problems, and we can continue to be a resource for patients from all countries, providing access to the most state-of-the-art care.”

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