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Enhancing cardiac care for children

An internationally-renowned interventional cardiologist, Dr. Jin Lee joined Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU earlier this year from The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She has been involved in the development of pediatric heart programs internationally and is a co-author of publications in high impact journals as well as in multi-center studies of the Pediatric Heart Network. Dr. Lee serves as co-director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Heart Center, which was established in 2014 through generous donor contributions.

What attracted you to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and what are your impressions so far?

I was attracted to the ambition of the new hospital project, particularly the building up of the Heart Center. They are ambitious projects, but everyone is so dedicated and supportive. It makes me feel like what I came to do will happen.

What are your specific areas of interest, and how will these interests enhance the work being done at the CHF Heart Center?

My particular area of interest and expertise is interventional cardiac catheterization. Interventional catheterization has evolved to become an alternative to some types of cardiac surgery to fix heart problems in a less invasive way. My research has been working with stents to delay and reduce surgical risks in newborn babies as well as stenting blood vessels as an alternative to surgical shunts. Some of the stents dissolve and disappear in the body. These are all innovative approaches. I’m also very interested in cardiac imaging, cardiac intensive care, and heart transplantation. My broad background gives me a unique perspective of what a comprehensive heart program requires.

What are your goals for the CHF Heart Center?

We want to be able to offer specialization in all areas of cardiac care. That includes diagnosing heart problems in the fetus, infants, teens and adult patients. Taking care of these patients and all the cardiac problems involves a higher level of expertise including interventional catheterization, pediatric electrophysiology [the study of the heart’s electrical conduction system], heart failure, transplant and cardiac genetic issues. Some of the work we do is unique including 4D cardiac MRI by Dr. Uyen Truong and neuromonitoring during heart surgery by Drs. Tom Yeh and Daniel Millan. We want to be leaders in the nation and have a 5-year plan to get there.

How do you work with other CHoR specialists to provide comprehensive care to patients?

The Heart Center collaborates with all of the CHoR specialists, the Pauley Heart Center team and VCU Health. One of our partnerships has been with the Healthy Lifestyles Center. We’re focusing on preventative cardiovascular health because Virginia has a high population of kids who are overweight. The Pauley Heart Center team in particular has been an excellent resource for us. We are also establishing partnerships with community pediatricians as the local care of children’s hearts is a common goal for all of us.