T. Konrad Rajab M.D. Receives Award from the Saving tiny Hearts Society

Lauren Hooker
May 16, 2022
T. Konrad Rajab MD

Pediatric cardiac surgeon T. Konrad Rajab, M.D., received a $75,000 award from the Saving tiny Hearts Society to support research titled Partial Heart Transplantation: a New Operation for Children Requiring Valve Replacement. The research team includes Jennie Kwon, M.D., cardiothoracic surgery resident, Minoo Kavarana, M.D., director of pediatric heart transplantation, Kristi Helke DVM, Ph.D., chair of the department of comparative medicine, Carolyn Taylor, M.D, director of the pediatric cardiac echocardiography lab, Deani Mcvadon M.D., pediatric cardiology fellow, and Marc Hassid, M.D., head of pediatric cardiac anesthesia.

Seven in 1,000 newborns have congenital heart defects, often involving the heart valve. Unfortunately, unlike for adult patients, there are currently no good options for doctors and patients to replace the heart valves of a newborn. Doctors can implant mechanical valves in older babies and children, but these valves do not grow with the child. Instead, new valves must be implanted as the child grows, meaning a child would typically undergo multiple open-heart surgeries.

Partial Heart Transplantation is a new approach for babies born with heart valve defects. Partial heart transplantation differs from heart transplantation because only the part of the heart containing the heart valve is transplanted.The transplant grows adaptively with the children, eliminating the need for re-operations for successively larger implants.

Since 2006, Saving tiny Hearts Society has been working to fulfill its mission of raising seed money for lifesaving research on congenital heart defects. To date, the Saving tiny Hearts Society has funded 50 research projects.