Roland Lian Cung Bawi of Owensboro, Ky., was diagnosed with four congenital heart defects at a routine ultrasound during his mother’s pregnancy. While each defect is repairable, it is unusual to have all four together — and that created a challenge for the medical team at Kosair Children’s Hospital.
J. B. Speed School of Engineering, who printed a 3-D model of Roland’s heart so that they could prepare a plan prior to surgery. It was the first time 3-D printing had been used in Kentucky to plan a heart surgery.
“We can use imaging techniques to create different views of the heart, but in this case we really wanted to create something that would help the surgical team better plan the procedure,” said Philip B. Dydynski, M.D., chief of radiology at Kosair Children’s Hospital.
The J.B. Speed team turned to an inexpensive printer to create the model that was more than twice the size of Roland’s heart.
“Once I had the model, I knew what I would be able to do,” said Erle H. Austin III, M.D., a University of Louisville cardiothoracic surgeon and chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Kosair Children’s Hospital. “This meant fewer incisions in the heart, less operating time and an easier postoperative recovery.”
Roland was 14 months old when the two-hour surgery was performed on Feb. 10, 2014. He was discharged from the hospital just four days later.
“This is exciting technology that hopefully has potential for improving care in other specialty areas at Kosair Children’s Hospital as well,” Dr. Dydynski said.
David Salazar, a student at Breckinridge County High School in Harned, Ky., at the time of his procedure, became Kosair Children’s Hospital’s 100th patient to undergo a kidney transplant. The facility has been performing kidney transplants since 1987.
Though it may have been a routine procedure for the medical staff at Kosair Children’s Hospital, for David it was a major, life-changing surgery. He underwent the normal doubts and fears of a youth facing serious surgery — including whether he would survive — while juggling activities like varsity football with frequent hour-long commutes from Irvington, Ky., to Louisville for blood work and tests.
Since his surgery in November 2013, David has regained his strength and positive outlook.
“I feel great,” David said just a month after his surgery. “Actually, I feel too great. I feel I could take on the world right now.”
David’s transplant surgeon, Eric C. Davis, M.D., who’s also assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has been performing organ transplants for many years and is the solid organ transplant medical/surgical director at Kosair Children’s Hospital.
“It was a routine surgery, and David did very well,” Dr. Davis said.
David was only on the transplant wait list for a little more than two weeks before a match was found. And, being located within a short drive of Kosair Children’s Hospital, David and his family were able to avoid frequent long-distance trips for months before and after his surgery in addition to immense travel expenses.
David’s mother, Amy Ratliff, said she is grateful to have such a resource as Kosair Children’s Hospital close to home.
Bringing superior pediatric care closer to your home
Kosair Children’s Hospital’s community reach has expanded to cities without access to specialized pediatric care with the introduction of telemedicine technology. Physicians based in Louisville can now meet with patients in surrounding cities through advanced videoconferencing software and equipment.
“The whole idea of telemedicine is to be able to keep patients close to home, making it more convenient and efficient to get the specialized care they need,” said Kristine Lain, M.D., maternal-fetal medicine specialist with Kosair Children’s Hospital Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists. “It really is all about the patient.”
Dr. Lain and her colleagues use telemedicine to care for patients as far away as Ashland and Paducah, Ky.
Norton Medical Group has also made the expertise of Kosair Children’s Hospital available at 12 Kosair Children’s Hospital Medical Associates pediatrics offices in Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana. The offices make it easy for families to know where to bring children for routine well checks and minor illnesses and injuries.