NYU Langone Transplant Institute and Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone have launched the new Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, bolstering the institution’s comprehensive offering of solid organ and blood and bone marrow transplants, as well as expanding regional access to this specialized level of care for children.
The program is led by two nationally renowned experts in the field: Rakesh Singh, MD, pediatric cardiologist and faculty member of the Department of Pediatrics, who serves as medical director of pediatric heart failure and transplantation; and T.K. Susheel Kumar, MD, pediatric cardiac surgeon and associate professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, who serves as the surgical director.
Dr. Singh joined Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital in March 2020 from Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, where he served as the medical director of heart failure and transplantation from 2014 to 2019. He has been directly involved in more than 150 pediatric heart transplants in his career. Dr. Kumar, whose decades-long career spans across two continents, spent the last 15 years as a cardiac surgeon in both India and the United States. He has performed dozens of complicated heart transplants in infants and children.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Singh and Dr. Kumar lead our efforts to develop a successful pediatric heart failure and transplant program here at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital,” says Catherine S. Manno, MD, the Pat and John Rosenwald Professor of Pediatrics and chair of the Department of Pediatrics. “The new program further enhances our already robust Pediatric Congenital Heart Program with the advanced expertise to care for children with the most complex cardiac needs.”
A Leader in Survival Rates and Transplant Medicine
A national leader in pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery, the Pediatric Congenital Heart Program has a 99 percent survival rate, exceeding those of the largest programs in the northeast region and the national average, according to statistics from the most recently validated Society of Thoracic Surgeons data, which covers the four-year period from July 2015 to June 2019. Experts at the Pediatric Congenital Heart Program, led by world-renowned cardiac surgeon Ralph S. Mosca, MD, the George E. Reed Professor of Cardiac Surgery in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and professor in the Department of Pediatrics, diagnose and treat the most complex and rare congenital and acquired heart defects in patients from the fetal period through adulthood. The multidisciplinary team includes pediatric cardiologists, pediatric cardiac surgeons, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, and perfusionists.
The Transplant Institute has the top adult heart transplant program in the nation according to recently published data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, based on rapid transplant rates, low mortality while waiting for a transplant, and one-year post-transplant survival.
This is the fifth new solid organ transplantation program to launch at NYU Langone since 2017, following new adult heart, lung, and pancreas, and pediatric kidney transplant programs. With each new program, the Transplant Institute has redoubled its efforts to increase donation and transplantation rates. Recent research has focused on utilizing organs that may otherwise be rejected, such as those from donors with hepatitis C, and developing new protocols such as a novel organ revitalization technique that enables donation after cardiac death.
“This new pediatric heart transplant program underlines our commitment to providing superlative, comprehensive care to all patients who may need a transplant, while advancing the field of transplantation,” says Robert Montgomery, MD, chair and professor in the Department of Surgery and director of the Transplant Institute.
Pediatric heart transplant patients will receive inpatient care at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital—34th Street. The 160,000-square-foot facility is accessible through its own entrance and contains 68 single-patient rooms—the only pediatric inpatient facility with this feature in Manhattan. After discharge, patients and families will continue to see their providers at a new Congenital Heart Ambulatory Center, which will open in the same building this winter.
“When a child has a significant heart condition, the diagnosis impacts the entire family,” Dr. Singh says. “As a pediatric cardiologist, I make a point of getting to know everyone involved in the child’s care so I can help them navigate this new world and give them hope. Our pediatric patients and families work with the same team from admission to discharge, and the family-centered facilities and resources at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital aim to decrease anxiety and promote healing as much as possible.”
He and Dr. Kumar work closely with a support team, which includes a social worker and child life specialist, to ensure the unique social and emotional needs of every patient and their families are met.
“It is an honor to be part of a world-class team of surgeons, cardiologists, intensivists, and nurses with skill sets to take on the most complex congenital heart lesions,” says Dr. Kumar. “I consider it a great privilege to be able to make a difference in the lives of children and families. It is what motivates me every day.”