The Cardiovascular Anesthesiology and Critical Care laboratory is dedicated to understanding the complex physiology of critically ill children and to the development of monitoring tools to help bedside clinicians who are caring for the sickest pediatric patients.Experiments are being conducted to explore the mechanisms behind the brain’s ability to regulate blood flow under conditions of traumatic brain injury, shock and cardiopulmonary bypass. Clinical research efforts in the detection and treatment of neurologic injuries acquired by children with critical heart disease are also underway.
The John Welsh Cardiovascular Diagnostic laboratory offers state-of-the-art molecular diagnostic testing for cardiovascular diseases and rapid molecular testing of heart tissue, lung tissue and other organ specimens and bodily fluids for viruses. These tests are focused specifically for viruses identified as causing heart disease in children and adults as well as in the fetus.The laboratory also offers genetic testing for DNA mutations associated with cardiac disease. This close relationship between the research and the diagnostic laboratories allows us to identify novel disease-associated genes and mutations in the research laboratory and transfer this knowledge directly to the patient through the diagnostic laboratory, allowing “bench-to-beside” service.
Research in the Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering laboratory focuses on the influences of biophysical cues such as stress, strain, shear, substrate stiffness and electrical stimulation on the development and maturation of heart cells and tissues. The new Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women, opening fall 2011, affords a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary research collaboration between congenital heart surgery, fetal medicine and fetal surgery. Our physicians are working to develop heart tissue grown from stem cells taken from the amniotic fluid of patients’ mothers. This tissue will be genetically identical to the child and will grow with the patient.