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November 17, 2021

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and UVA Children’s develop regional collaboration to provide heart surgery for children in Virginia

An exterior of UVA Children's.

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and UVA Children’s are teaming up to ensure children and families in Virginia have convenient access to quality cardiac surgery. Through the relationship, newborns and children will receive surgery with the surgeon and at the hospital that best meet their medical needs, while keeping them as close to their homes as possible. 

UVA Children’s and CHoR are ranked among the nation’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. UVA’s national ranking for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery and CHoR’s elite Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center verification make them the preeminent team for children and families across the Commonwealth. As they come together, patients will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the cardiac surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, interventionalists, extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) specialists, nurses and support team members who comprise these award-winning teams.

“UVA has an outstanding track record of pediatric heart surgery outcomes that surpasses the national average. We are thrilled to be collaborating with our colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, combining our expertise to care for more families in need of specialized heart care for their children,” said K. Craig Kent, CEO of UVA Health.

“Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect, occurring in 1 out of 100 live births. This regional collaboration brings together the Commonwealth’s two academic medical centers with the most skilled specialists in pediatric cardiac surgery to provide surgical care to hundreds of children when and where they need it,” said Art Kellermann, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University and CEO of VCU Health System.

This collaborative approach also combines the volume of the most complex surgical cases among the teams. There is a strong correlation between the number of surgical procedures a surgeon and hospital have done and the outcomes for those patients — the greater the number, typically the lower the complication rates. Regularly caring for patients with these complex health needs is an important component in providing the best and safest care.

“The pediatric cardiology relationship with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is a testament to our commitment to providing world-class care to families in Virginia. The alliance between our institutions allows us to provide exceptional heart care for more children and helps ensure that no family needs to leave Virginia for the best outcome for their child,” said James Gangemi, M.D., surgical director of pediatric congenital heart surgery and medical director of the pediatric ECMO program at UVA.

“CHoR has a long history of providing comprehensive heart care, from diagnosis before birth to non-invasive options and cardiac surgery. Through this new relationship with UVA Children’s, we can build on this history while keeping kids and families embedded in their communities and support networks,” said Elias Neujahr, CHoR president. “We’ve always been working toward the same goal of keeping kids healthy, happy and thriving. Now we have the exciting opportunity to do so arm-in-arm with quality and safety at the forefront.”

Both hospitals offer the pediatric intensive care, acute care, cardiology and support services that are essential in safe and successful recovery from cardiac surgery.

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