Stony Brook University Medical Center
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Pediatric Cardiology
Jan 11, 2007

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Thomas Biancaniello, MD, Chief
Peter Morelli, MD
Rula Balluz, MD
MaryBeth Hayden, RN, CPNP

The faculty of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology is experienced in the care and treatment of pediatric heart disease.   While each of the faculty members have experience in the broad field of Pediatric Cardiology, each also has a particular “niche” of interest and expertise.   The Division Chief is Tom Biancaniello, Professor of Pediatrics.   Dr. Biancaniello is Director of Pediatric Cardiac Catheterization.   His special interests are interventional pediatric techniques, and the adult with congenital heart disease.   Dr. Peter Morelli, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, is Director of non-invasive Pediatric Cardiology.   Dr. Morelli’s special interest is in preventive cardiology and has a successful program for children who are overweight, hypertensive or have hyperlipidemia (see the following article regarding the Pediatric Preventive Cardiovascular Risk Program).   In addition he performs both diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterizations.   The newest member of the division is Dr. Rula Balluz, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, whose special interest is non-invasive evaluation of heart dysfunction including transesophageal echocardiology.   Dr. Balluz also has a Masters of Public Health and has an interest in population studies of children with congenital and acquired heart disease.   Marybeth Heyden PNP, Pediatric Cardiac Nurse Practitioner, rounds out the division’s clinical staff.   Ms. Heyden coordinates the cardiac surgery program for infants, children and adolescents in addition to providing support and educational services to all of the patients and their families cared for by the division of Pediatric Cardiology.   Ms. Geri Claeson is the administrative assistant for the division and coordinates the complex scheduling of our patients for testing, appointments and surgery.

Dr. Jan Quaegebeur, an internationally known expert in pediatric cardiac surgery, provides surgical support for children requiring open heart surgery at Stony Brook.   He is particularly well known for his pioneering work in the arterial switch operation in infants.   To date he has done 257 open-heart procedures on infants and children at Stony Brook University Hospital with 1.5% mortality (NY State mortality rate ~5.5%).   Drs. Zvi Jacob and Ron Jasiewitcz are Pediatric Anesthesiologists who specialize in pediatric heart surgery.   (editor’s note:   the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery program has been temporally suspended by the DOH, see comment below)

Our faculty performs inpatient and out patient consultations at Stony Brook University Hospital and several community hospitals.   Dr. Biancaniello also serves as Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at St. Charles.   We offer transcatheter closure of atrial septal defects, patent ductus arteriosus, and atriovenous malformations; balloon valvuloplasty and angioplasty.   Fetal echocardiography is performed to diagnose important cardiac defects prenatally.

Dr. Morelli is Vice-chair of Pediatrics for Clinical Affairs and is the Departmental QA liaison.   He has also recently been asked to serve on the Dean’s Clinical Advisory Committee.

The faculty considers teaching a high priority and professional vocation.   An intensive introduction to Pediatric Heart Disease is part of the Cardiovascular Organ Systems for 2nd year Medical Students.   The sessions includes a didactic section, case based learning and a pathology of congenital heart disease laboratory to help students put it all together.   Third year student clerks rotate through our outpatient sessions and an elective is offered.

Data being collected in the Preventive Cardiology Program will hopefully help in the epidemic of childhood obesity and the sedentary life style all too popular in our society.  



© Copyright 2007 by Pediatric News at Stony Brook University Medical Center

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