The number of infants born with congenital heart diseases and survive past their post-natal period continues to increase world-wide, making patients with congenital heart diseases one of the fastest growing populations in the field of medicine. In accordance with this trend, the demand for experts in the fields of pediatric and adult congenital heart disease constantly grows. Adult congenital heart disease is now an established, board certified Cardiology sub-specialty in the United States as well as in many countries in Europe and Canada. Caring for infants, children, and adults with congenital heart diseases requires vast knowledge and skills, including deep and thorough understanding of the anatomy, pathophysiology and hemodynamic states of the various cardiac defects, as well as the technical abilities to address them in the catheterization laboratory.
Given these considerations, the Aretaeio Hospital in collaboration with Cardioheal, an Israeli cardiovascular professional group, have taken upon establishing a comprehensive program for the evaluation and treatment of pediatric and adult individuals with congenital heart diseases. Sagi Assa, M.D. and Yonatan Buber, M.D., both experts in the field of congenital heart diseases, were selected to assist in this mission in close collaboration with Aretaeio physicians, Georgios P. Georghiou, M.D (Cardiac Surgeon-Coordinator), Themis Komodromos, M.D (Interventional Cardiologist), and George Kanellopoulos, M.D (Cardiac Surgeon). Currently based in Israel, Drs Assa and Buber underwent extensive training: Dr. Assa was trained at the Deutche Herzzentrum in Berlin in the field of congenital heart disease interventions and is one of the leading Cardiologists at “Save a Child’s Heart”, an international program in which pediatric patients from under-served areas of the world arrive in Israel to receive extensive treatment for their cardiac diseases. Dr. Buber was trained at Boston Children’s Hospital and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the fields of congenital heart disease and intervention, and served as an instructor at Harvard medical school and the Ohio state medical school. Doctors Assa and Buber currently care for hundreds of patients with a wide spectrum of congenital heart conditions- from simple shunt lesions to complex single ventricle physiologies.
The first two interventional procedures for adults with complex congenital heart diseases were undertaken at the Aretaeio Heart center. These consisted of percutaneous closure of a very large and tortuous patent ductus arteriosus and stent implantation in a native aortic coarctation. The procedures were carried out by Dr. Themis Komodromos, Dr. Georgios P. Georghiou and Dr. George Kanellopoulos with the help and guidance of Dr. Assa and Dr. Buber. Both patients were discharged home on the following day on excellent condition.