Biomedical engineers team with pediatric cardiologists and surgeons to improve Fontan treatment

Georgia Tech has teamed with pediatric cardiologists and surgeons to develop new technologies to improve surgical planning for one of the most complex congenital heart defects in infants.

Although the normal heart has two ventricles - lower chambers of the heart used for pumping blood through the body - some babies are born with just one lower chamber. Considered one of the most complex congenital heart defects, single-ventricle often leads to congestive heart failure if not repaired.

Patients with this defect often undergo multiple surgeries to reconfigure the pulmonary and systemic systems in operations called "Fontan Repairs." Staged over several years, these surgeries are an option used for treating the single-ventricle defect. Following the procedures, a variety of outcomes from good to poor have been reported.

In an effort to develop optimal surgical designs based on the child's anatomy, a team of biomedical engineers and pediatric cardiologists and surgeons have announced that they have begun developing improved technologies to assist surgeons in surgical planning of the Fontan surgery. These technologies could advance surgical methods by more specifically tailoring the procedure to the patient and possibly enhancing the patient's quality of life following the procedure.

The team is funded by a $5.1 million award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Optimization of the Fontan procedure is a clinical problem," said Ajit Yoganathan, Regents Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "Our goal is to improve the efficiency of this procedure, which is commonly utilized today."

The team, led by Georgia Tech, consists of several members from three other institutions. To

Contact: Larry Bowie
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News

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