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12th Annual Fetal Surgery Family Reunion Gathers Families From Across the U.S. and Canada
Date:6/22/2008

Parents tour the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the first-of-its-kind service for mothers carrying fetuses with prenatally diagnosed birth defects

PHILADELPHIA, June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of families gathered today to celebrate at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for the 12th Annual Fetal Surgery Family Reunion. The reunion gathers together families who have been followed by the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment and the Fetal Heart Program teams at Children's Hospital. Nearly all of the children attending were prenatally diagnosed with a birth defect that had potentially devastating outcomes. Ten families attended the Center's first reunion for current and former fetal patients in 1997; more than 150 families attended the 12th annual reunion today!

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080622/DC25729 )

Parents toured the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, an innovative new labor and delivery unit that is now available for expectant mothers needing highly specialized, sophisticated medical care. The Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit at Children's Hospital is the world's first comprehensive medical unit for mothers carrying a fetus with a known birth defect.

"The fetal surgery reunion is our team's favorite day of the year," says N. Scott Adzick, M.D. surgeon-in-chief at Children's Hospital and medical director of the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. "Each year we get to see children, who as babies likely could have died without intervention or close monitoring, running around, growing up healthy and strong and it is truly inspiring. This year we are honored to show our former families the newly opened Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit."

When expectant parents learn during an anticipated ultrasound that their baby has a birth defect, they need know all the treatment options that are available. There is hope and help for babies with birth defects and the expert clinicians and staff at The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment and the Fetal Heart Program at Children's Hospital are at the ready to help families with questions get the answers and the help they need -- quickly!

As one of only a few centers of its kind in the world, the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia offers a wide range of comprehensive fetal surgery services that support patients from the prenatal evaluation stage through infant follow-up care. The Center was established in 1995 and has received over 8,000 referrals from all 50 states and 46 countries. The Center has performed over 500 fetal surgery operations including major open fetal surgical procedures for birth defects such as spina bifida, less invasive fetoscopic or ultrasound guided surgeries for conditions such as TTTS, or multidisciplinary coordinated special delivery approaches for babies that require surgical interventions while still on maternal-placental life support (EXIT delivery) or immediate cardiovascular evaluation and open heart versus less invasive endovascular surgery for major congenital heart disease (IMPACT delivery). For more information, please visit http://fetalsurgery.chop.edu.

Advances in prenatal imaging now permit the detection of congenital heart disease early in pregnancy. The Cardiac Center's Fetal Heart Program specializes in expert diagnosis, evaluation and ongoing management of congenital heart disease before birth, as early as 12 weeks gestation. The program is the largest of its kind in the U.S., attracting referrals nationwide. A specialized team of fetal cardiologists, fetal imaging sonographers and dedicated nurse coordinators provide extensive family education and individualized counseling. The Fetal Heart team draws upon the full resources of the Cardiac Center to care for both fetus and family. For more information, please visit heart.chop.edu.


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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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