Ultrasound Helps Pediatric Heart Surgeons After Open Heart Surgery

doing this kind of monitoring is if you see lots of air, you can tell the surgeon he needs to do more deairing -- it is a feedback system," Rodriguez said.

By monitoring the patient, it helps them determine if action is needed, such as drugs, to protect the brain, and they don't have to wait until the end of the surgery.

Using a non-invasive method such as the transcranial Doppler with children has a particular advantage over methods such as the echocardiogram.

The transcranial Doppler requires a small-size probe applied around the temple area, while an echocardiogram is invasive and requires the presence of a cardiologist to interpret the echocardiogram during surgery.

The echocardiogram has additional risks not present with a non-invasive method like the transcranial Doppler.

"We have been able to integrate transcranial Doppler with other types of measurements," Rodriguez said. "Our philosophy is that (transcranial Doppler) is just a single window, not enough to see the whole inside of the house, but with two or three other windows, you get a better picture."

Rodriguez received the Popham Clinical Research Fellowship Award from Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in 1996 to continue his clinical investigations of brain function during cardiac surgery in children.

His colleagues in the study include Drs. Garry Cornel, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, Lloyd Semelhago, William Splinter, Nihal Weerasena, and Lothar Broecker and Guy Millette of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery and the Department of Anesthesia.


Contact: Robert Conn or Mark Wright
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

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