Baylor Health Care System Foundation


Hillcrest Foundation grant supports Baylor's smallest patients

December 2012

Baylor's smallest patients and their mothers have a new reason to hope thanks to an innovative new procedure for correcting heart defects in unborn children, and the generous support of the Hillcrest Foundation.

Kevin Magee, M.D., medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, and his team will benefit from a significant gift of more than $590,000 to purchase an essential monitoring system. This system will allow the surgeons to view vital images on one screen and make it possible for the fetal interventional team to perform delicate, lifesaving procedures before a child is born.

The grant from the Hillcrest Foundation, which builds on a legacy of generous support from The Crystal Charity Ball, will allow Dr. Magee and his team to reach a significant medical milestone. They will be first in the world to perform lifesaving in-utero cardiac surgery on our most vulnerable patients.

There are very few centers offering fetal cardiac interventional procedures in the U.S., and those that do utilize methods that require a major surgical procedure for the mother. Dr. Magee and his team have worked on a safer alternative over the past three years: a revolutionary procedure where a metal wire is magnetically guided through the mother, into the umbilical cord and manipulated through the baby’s vascular system to its heart. This innovative and less invasive procedure has been highly successful in several experiments and is anticipated to lower both the baby’s mortality and the mother’s risk.

Congenital heart defects are relatively common and in many cases can be devastating. Frequently, children with complex congenital heart defects will require multiple surgical procedures during the first few years of life or, in some cases, during the first few minutes of life. This newly developed procedure is focused on decreasing the number of surgeries for the newborn and the complications as well.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Dr. Magee, who is fielding inquiries from doctors throughout the United States and the world. As word spreads, physicians desperately seeking help for their pregnant patients whose unborn babies have the most severe form of cardiac birth defects, are anxious to learn more about this new development.

Dr. Magee and his team presented their initial work at an international conference this past spring and submitted the results to a medical journal for publication. Thanks to this gift, the fetal team at Baylor will have the opportunity to advance medical knowledge and train physicians to perform this procedure. Baylor is proud of Dr. Magee’s work, which has the potential to improve care in our own community and reach beyond the hospital’s walls to impact lives all over the world.

For more information about Baylor’s women’s and children’s initiatives, contact Melissa Dalton at 214.820.2705 or by email.

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