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News of Note

Gardiner, Helena REVHelena Gardiner, M.D., Ph.D.

Honored with The Outstanding Research Award in Pediatric Cardiology
The Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young presented The Outstanding Research Award to Helena Gardiner, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Fetal Cardiology Program at The Fetal Center. This award recognizes innovative and outstanding research that results in fundamental insights in the pathophysiology, etiology, treatment or outcome of cardiovascular disease into young people.

Dr. Gardiner was presented the award as senior author at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2014 in Chicago, on behalf of the Fetal Working Group of the European Pediatric Cardiology Society (AEPC), following her abstract entitled, “Does fetal aortic valvuloplasty alter the natural
history of aortic stenosis?”

The study enrolled 214 fetuses diagnosed with aortic stenosis at medical centers in 13 European countries. Gardiner and colleagues considered fetal aortic valvuloplasty in 70 of the 214 fetuses, and the procedure was successful in 59 of the 67 accepted for therapy. The researchers analyzed the data by matching the live-born fetuses with aortic stenosis treated by aortic valvuloplasty with natural history controls as closely as possible at 23 weeks gestation for the size of left-sided heart structures and blood flow patterns in the aortic arch.

Survival was similar for both cohorts at 30 days, one year, and four years of follow up. Serial left-sided growth was similar in both cohorts. There was no significant difference in outcome between the cohorts; a similar proportion of survivors had a biventricular circulation in the valvuloplasty-treated cohort and the natural history cohort. Funnel plots showed more survivors with a biventricular circulation among fetuses treated in centers with experience of performing valvuloplasty, while in centers with limited surgical options, more fetuses were converted from biventricular circulation to univentricular circulation, with increased morbidity and mortality.

“The long-term clinical significance of our findings is that fetal valvuloplasty can make a difference for some but not all fetuses with aortic stenosis. It gives these fetuses a chance to have a life with a two-ventricle circulation after they are born, instead of the restrictions associated with a univentricular circulation following the Norwood procedure. We know that the Norwood procedure will result in, at best, a 60 percent five-year survival and long-term functional issues,” says Dr. Gardiner.

The researchers concluded that fetal valvuloplasty treatment for fetuses with aortic stenosis should be concentrated in experienced centers with expert fetal and surgical facilities to improve survival and reduce morbidity.

Tsao, KuoJenKuoJen Tsao, M.D., Appointed to NAFTNet Executive Committee

KuoJen Tsao, M.D., co-director of The Fetal Center, was recently appointed to the executive committee of the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet). He joins fellow co-director at The Fetal Center, Anthony Johnson, D.O., on the executive board.

NAFTNet is a voluntary association of 24 medical centers in the U.S. and Canada that perform
advanced in-utero fetal therapeutic procedures, representing a variety of specialties, including
maternal-fetal medicine, pediatric surgery, neonatology, pediatric cardiology and fetal ultrasound,
and practicing in both academic and community-based organizations. NAFTNet was founded by a governing principle that continues to fuel the program: to provide an umbrella organization to assist the various medical centers that practice fetal medicine, promote cooperation between these centers and foster research in fetal therapy.

With the addition of Dr. Tsao to the executive committee, The Fetal Center continues to remain focused on the development of therapeutic prenatal interventions to maternal and fetal outcomes in high-risk pregnancies affected by fetal disease.


Shah, Manish REVManish N. Shah, M.D.

Dr. Shah is a fellowship-trained pediatric neurosurgeon with special expertise in spina bifida, tethered cord syndrome, pediatric epilepsy, and craniofacial and craniocervical spine surgery. He serves as assistant professor in the division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at UTHealth Medical School. He is also an expert in the surgical management of spasticity and dystonia in children, and performs selective dorsal rhizotomies, baclofen pump placements and advanced deep brain stimulation techniques.

Dr. Shah was recruited from Washington University in St. Louis, after completing his fellowship training at St. Louis Children’s Hospital under the direction of world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Tae Sung
Park, M.D. He earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University and his medical degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, followed by a residency in neurosurgery at Washington University. He is the recipient of numerous awards and was elected to Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society in 2002 and Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society in 2005.

Dr. Shah is an author of research articles published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery, Neurosurgical Focus and Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, as well as a book chapter entitled “Congenital and Acquired Abnormalities of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine,” published in Youmans: Neurological Surgery. He is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons’ Joint Cerebrovascular Section and Joint Pediatrics Section.


Greives, MatthewMatthew R. Greives, M.D.

Dr. Greives is a fellowship-trained craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgeon specializing in patients with cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis, craniofacial distraction, vascular anomalies, and ear reconstruction.He is currently an assistant professor in the division of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at UTHealth Medical School.

Dr. Greives earned his medical degree at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, graduating with honors. He received his residency training in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center, which included a clinical elective learning the intricacies of ear reconstruction from Dr. Francoise Firmin of Paris, France. He completed a fellowship in craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Greives has authored numerous articles on vascular biology, wound healing, and cleft and craniofacial surgery. He has traveled with multiple cleft and craniofacial surgical mission trips to Peru, Chile and the Dominican Republic, and was named as an Albert Ellis Scholar for international research. His professional recognitions include the Huggins Surgical Research Symposium Best Clinical Presentation and the ASPS Senior Resident Conference Best Microsurgery Paper.


McGuire, MonicaMonica McGuire, RN, Clinical Nurse Coordinator

Monica McGuire, RN, joined The Fetal Center in September 2014 as clinical nurse coordinator. She has more than 10 years of nursing experience in pediatrics, bedside nursing and case management. She is a certified pediatric nurse (CPN) and is a fellow in the American Academy of Case Management (FAACM). Last year, she was a finalist for the Nurses as Collaborators, part of The Nurses in Excellence Awards at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.