The mission of The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF) is to fund the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are America’s #1 birth defect – affecting nearly 40,000 babies a year. Today, more infants with CHDs survive to adulthood because of advancements made through research. Despite the progress made in understanding and treating CHDs, more work is needed to determine the cause and best treatment options. The Impact of Research: Children who receive pacemakers need multiple surgeries to account for growth and longevity. Through this process, many complications can arise, which warrants a search for alternatives. In 2012, CHF funded a research project called: “Development of a Cell-based therapy for Congenital Complete Heart Block” by Douglas Cowan, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D (Children’s Hospital Boston) What the research means: When something is wrong with the heart’s electrical system, it does not beat regularly, resulting in a rhythm disorder or ‘arrhythmia’. Complete heart block (CHB) occurs when impulses cannot pass between the upper and lower chambers. The goal of Dr. Cowan’s research is to engineer tissues to electrically connect the atria and ventricles in children with complete heart block. This would be a great alternative therapy over a lifetime of surgeries associated placing pacemakers in children.
Meet Riley: Riley is a happy, energetic young girl who suffers from CHB. This research has special meaning for Riley, her family and any children facing the challenges of complete heart block. Thank you Dr. Cowen, Children’s Boston and our donors for making this important research possible! With the support and dedication of our volunteers and donors, we are able to continue to contribute to a critical need for CHD research. To make a donation, visit: http://childrensheartfoundation.org/donate-now For more information, visit: http://childrensheartfoundation.org/