PA) - Denied strenuous activity as a child, Jim Hendrix more than
made up for lost time as an adult -- climbing the sides of mountains,
leaping out of planes, surfing the wild waves and cruising the asphalt
on two roaring wheels.
Hendrix was born with a defective heart… one that wasn’t
fixed by surgery until he turned 13. The Ocean City, New Jersey
native had “tetralogy of Fallot,” a condition consisting
of a number of different congenital defects within the heart.
“There was always a constant worry my heart would fail, due
to the limited amount of ways to help children born with congenital
heart defects back then,” said Hendrix. “I’m lucky
that I survived long enough for technology to catch up and help
And now it has, in many new ways, including the new Philadelphia
Adult Congenital Heart Center, which is open and available
to patients like Jim Hendrix. The center is the first of its kind
in the Mid-Atlantic region -- a joint venture between the University
of Pennsylvania Health System and The Children’s
Hospital of Philadelphia.
Gary Webb, MD is one of the world’s foremost
authorities on adult congenital heart disease and was recruited
here to lead the center. “Our center provides patients access
to real expertise in the area; it gives these patients what they
need,” Dr. Webb explained. “The center also has a multidisciplinary
team of experts for patients to meet their specific needs. And we
can provide patients with better information about their specific
problems… information that has been unavailable up to this
point. This will allow them to take greater charge of their own
health and live longer.”
“Thanks to advances in medical and surgical care, children
with congenital heart defects are now surviving into adulthood -
and thriving,” said Thomas L. Spray, MD,
chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Cardiac Center
at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. “As many as one
million adults in the United States are currently living with congenital
heart disease. These patients face unique challenges and require
highly specialized care to manage their medical and surgical needs."
Jim Hendrix has finally found specialized, multi-disciplinary care
at the new Philadelphia Adult Congenital Heart Center. And now that
the doors are open -- the push is on to inform other physicians
and patients about its existence.
Hendrix adds, “Finally, there’s a center that cares
and sees you through life for this.”
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise
dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical
research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists
of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in
1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation
for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in
U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top
research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty
and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide
for its superior education and training of the next generation of
physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes: its
flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,
consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll”
hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital,
the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a
faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty
satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.