February 12, 2008 (Jamaica, NY)– While couples spend this ValentineÛªs Day giving each other heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, Dr. Jayendra R. Sharma, Director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Jamaica Hospital, will spend his day with at least 50 children whose hearts he has literally touched during the past two years.
From 3:00pm to 5:00pm in the Jamaica Hospital Auditorium, Dr. Sharma and his former and present pediatric cardiology patients will gather for music, food, and games at the hospitalÛªs first Pediatric Cardiology Reunion. All of the children, from two weeks old to18 years old, have had open heart surgery or catheter mediated interventions with devices for heart abnormalities.
ÛÏThe heart is what keeps us alive and the idea of open heart surgery and heart defects in general, present stressful situations for families, especially when children are involved,Û stated Dr. Sharma. ÛÏOn ValentineÛªs day people celebrate life and love and I wanted to use this day to provide my patients and their families with the opportunity to meet one another and share their experiences.Û
Dr. Sharma and his staff treat eight to ten complex heart defects every year, in addition to numerous smaller structural defects of the heart, including Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), and Coarctation. After the surgical process, all patients need a regular follow-up, on a periodic basis, depending upon their individual health.
ÛÏLife long follow-up is vital and extremely important to children with structural heart defects. We monitor them through adulthood and work with their adult cardiologist to anticipate any potential problemsÛ explained Dr. Sharma. ÛÏThis event shows them that there are other children going through similar issues where they have to monitor their level of physical activity and watch their eating habits.Û
More than half of the children with heart defects are diagnosed in the prenatal stage by fetal echocardiograms. The risk factors in an expecting mother include: diabetes, a history of congenital heart disease in the family, connective tissue disorders, and/or abnormal fetal scan and chromosomal anomalies.
After the diagnoses of congenital heart defects in the fetus, such high risks pregnancies are monitored with the help of pediatric cardiologists, high risk obstetricians, and neonatal services for comprehensive management at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. For more information about these services, contact 718-206-7100.
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn. This 387-bed medical center is an accredited community teaching hospital with a large network of community-based ambulatory care centers. JHMC offers an array of acute inpatient, rehabilitation and mental health services, and is one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in New York City. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric, and dental services, in addition to home health services. Jamaica Hospital Medical CenterÛªs mission is to serve patients and the community in a way that is second to none. For additional information contact the Department of Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.