Cardiac care expanding at CT Children’s Medical Center

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Heart trouble is the number one birth defect in the U.S. That’s the driving reason why the cardiology unit at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center needs to expand.

Over the next year, the pulmonology department next door is moving out and cardiology is expanding into the space — with all new offices and equipment.

“When we started in 1996, we were four pediatric cardiologists,” said Dr. Harris Blake Leopold, head of cardiology. “We’re at ten, 11 caridiologists now.”

The corridors are busy as doctors here treat something that is surprisingly common.

“Congenital heart disease is one of the most common congenital problems that babies have to deal with,” said Dr. Paul Kirshbom, chief of cardiothoracic surgery. “Babies who are born with problems — heart disease is at the top of the list.”

As for the layout, “We’re going to try to center everything around workflow for the families — how patients get seen, how they get their studies, so they feel very private,” Leopold said.

For example, the new center will have a room just for talking. Exam rooms are fine for examining a patient but when the whole family wants to get together with the child patient and the doctor, people here want that experience to be comfortable for all involved.

“The family consultation room is going to be an opprtunity to bring family members, the children and the parents, as well as the caregivers in a setting that’s really important and fitting for a child,” said Joseph Fazzino of Virtus Investment Partners.

It’s Fazzino’s financial firm that is donating a quarter-million dollars to make the expansion possible.

“We help people with their investment dreams and that’s why it’s a nice partnership for us to help an organization like Connecticut Children’s Medical Center with the patients’ dreams,” Fazzino said.

The reality of the new cardiovascular center is expected to come sometime next year.

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