New 'Philadelphia Adult Congenital
Heart Center' Meets a Long Overdue Need by
(Philadelphia, 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 me.”
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