Our dedicated team of healthcare professionals is experts in caring for children before and after a pediatric heart transplant. But we know there’s more to treating a child than just superior clinical care. Family involvement is crucial to a child’s recovery, so Children’s makes it easy for families to be involved in the heart transplant care process. We offer a wealth of child and family-focused programs and services.
The Children’s Heart Transplant team includes:
Heart Transplant Surgeons
Doctors who perform the heart transplant surgery and are in charge of your child’s care in the hospital following the heart transplant. The heart transplant surgeons, along with the cardiologists (heart doctors), follows your child’s progress after your child is discharged.
- Brian E. Kogon, M.D.
Chief, Children's Cardiothoracic Surgery
Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon
Chief of Adult Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery and Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Medicine
- Kirk Kanter, M.D.
Director, Children's Heart Transplant Program
Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon
Professor of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
- Bahaadlin Alsoufi, M.D.
Pediatric Cardiothoracis Surgeon
Pediatric heart doctors who often manage your child’s care before the heart transplant. After the heart transplant, the cardiologists monitor your child’s care by performing routine heart biopsies to make sure the new heart is functioning properly.
- William T. Mahle, M.D.
Medical Director, Children's Heart Transplant Program
Associate Professor, Emory University School of Medicine
- Shriprasad Deshpande, M.B.B.S., M.S.
Medical Director, Mechanical Circulatory Support Program
Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Medicine
- Robert N. Vincent, M.D.
Director, Children's Cardiac Catheterization Lab
Professor of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
Other Team Members
- Kelci LaPorte, N.P., Program Manager
- Jami Steinmetz, N.P., Heart Transplant/Heart Failure Coordinator
- Mallory Carroll, N.P., Heart Transplant/Heart Failuture Coordinator
- Katie Berkowitz, N.P., Heart Transplant/Heart Failure Coordinator
- Laura Mee, Ph.D., Psychologist
- Susan Boekel, R.D., C.S.P., L.D., Nutritionist
- Tracey Shelby, L.C.S.W., C.C.T.S.W., Clinical Social Worker
- Rochelle Schmidt, PharmD.
- Pediatric heart transplant coordinator: A registered nurse who is specially trained to care for children before and after heart transplants. A heart transplant coordinator helps arrange your child’s evaluation and teaches your family about transplants. The Children’s Heart Transplant coordinator will follow your child’s progress in the hospital and during each outpatient visit after discharge; help answer your questions; and provide support to you and your family. At Children’s, a heart transplant coordinator is available to you 24 hours a day for urgent problems.
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and patient floor nurses: Registered nurses who care for your child while in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and on the patient floor. They will assist with monitoring your child’s recovery and help plan for discharge from the hospital. These nurses are specially trained to care for pediatric heart transplant patients. They monitor your child’s day-to-day progress and teach you how to care for your child’s incision, give medicines and manage nutritional issues.
- Pediatric respiratory care or respiratory therapists: Clinical staff who help your child with his breathing. They give breathing treatments and monitor how your child breathes.
- Pediatric registered dietitians/nutritionists: Clinical staff who will see your child before and after his heart transplant to evaluate his diet and growth. Many children with heart disease are not able to maintain their weight. After the pediatric heart transplant, eating the right types of food is very important. A nutritionist can help with these issues.
- Transplant pharmacist: A pharmacist who has special training with transplant medicines. She arranges for your child’s medicines and teaches you what you need to know about them. She also helps with research studies.
- Psychiatric clinical nurse specialists/child psychiatrists: Medical professionals who assess your child and family’s coping skills and patterns before a pediatric heart transplant. They can also help with ongoing support and counseling after pediatric heart transplant surgery.
- Child life specialists: Clinical staff who help you, your child and your family learn about why your child is in the hospital. They provide activities and services that allow your child to deal with the experience in ways that are healthy for his age. The child life specialist can: offer a hospital tour so your child can become familiar with the hospital; prepare your child before and after heart transplant surgery; and answer questions your child might have about the heart transplant surgery.
- Social workers: Healthcare professionals who help patients and families deal with all aspects of a heart transplant including the pre-transplant waiting time, the hospital stay, discharge and aftercare. They help provide guidance, counseling and coping skills for you and your family. Social workers help you get the services and resources you and your child need while in and out of the hospital.
- Pediatric physical therapists: Clinical staff who are specially trained to help your child with exercises to make him stronger before and after heart transplant. Pediatric physical therapists can also teach you what you can do at home to help your child regain strength. Exercise is important to reduce complications after pediatric heart transplant surgery, improve endurance and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Chaplains: Chaplains help meet your family’s spiritual needs. A chaplain can work with your pastor or religious leader to provide needed spiritual support. Hospital chaplains also conduct interfaith services in the hospital chapel at Children’s at Egleston.
- School program teachers: Hospital staff who are certified teachers. They help your child keep up with schoolwork so the transition between hospital, home and school will be easier. The schoolroom is located at Children’s at Egleston.
- Heart transplant financial counselors: Financial counselors help you learn about your insurance plan and how to reduce your family’s out-of-pocket expenses for your child’s care. A financial counselor can help your family set up a long-term payment plan, if needed.