Cutting edge work to mend broken hearts

Improvements in the provision of healthcare to children has been an integral part of our World questions | King’s answers. Cutting-edge work is improving the long-term outcomes and quality of life of these young patients from before they are born, through infancy and adulthood. Thanks to public support, the impact of our work is being felt not just in London, but all around the world.

Mending broken hearts
King’s healthcare partner, Evelina London Children's Hospital, is a centre of excellence for the diagnosis and management of congenital heart defects in babies, even in the womb. The Foetal Cardiology Unit is uniquely able to assess around 2,000 unborn babies, and around 10 per cent of these babies are found to have heart problems each year.

However, high-resolution 3D scans help hospital staff plan the baby’s treatment during pregnancy, after birth and into childhood, improving their chances of survival and offering them the best possible quality of life.

Models of success
Thanks to the support of alumni and the wider King’ community, we are also implementing some other, perhaps more surprising techniques. From MRI scans, experts have pioneered an ingenious technique whereby a 3D printer, working from high resolution images, creates a replica of a heart. Surgeons use the plastic replica to examine the organ and even rehearse surgery before they operate.

Two-year-old Mina is an example of how this can make a real difference. By working on a tiny 3D model of her heart, surgeons practised how to repair a congenital defect. We are delighted to say that the surgery was a success and Mina has made a full recovery!