Critical Care

Inova Children’s Hospital is equipped for complex cases

Kim Zimmerman and Kamal Faour were joyfully expecting the arrival of their first child when their world turned upside down. A routine sonogram revealed the baby had transposition of the great arteries (TGA), a rare and complex congenital heart defect in which the aorta and pulmonary artery are reversed. The infant would need open heart surgery at birth.

Kim and Kamal were in shock. “Everything had been going so well. It was the easiest pregnancy imaginable. To get this news just a few weeks before delivery was awful,” Kim says.

The couple had planned to give birth at Inova Women’s Hospital (on the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus). They’d toured the birthing center and attended childbirth classes. Kamal’s two daughters had been born there. Would this be possible now? The answer was a resounding yes.

They met with patient navigator Kelly Gallo and pediatric cardiac surgeon Lucas Collazo, MD, who reassured them that Inova’s unique, comprehensive Fetal Care Program would provide everything they’d need under one roof. From prenatal consultation, high-risk pregnancy expertise and delivery at Inova Women’s Hospital to advanced pediatric care and surgery at Inova Children’s Hospital (also at the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus), the program ensures that families stay close during this critical time. In fact, it is the only program in the Washington, DC, region where mother and baby are cared for in the same place. Collazo also happens to be one of two world-class pediatric heart surgeons on staff at the hospital (the other is Dr. Irving Shen), as part of our children’s heart program.

Preparing for Baby

Over the next few weeks, Gallo made things as easy as possible, coordinating everyone’s schedules and assembling a team of specialists to prepare for the birth. When baby Nabil arrived by C-section, he was whisked to the catheterization lab where Jim Thompson, MD, a pediatric cardiologist, inserted a balloon catheter into his heart to enlarge the opening between the atria and keep him breathing until his surgery. Three days later, Dr. Collazo and Irving Shen, MD, performed an arterial switch, moving Nabil’s aorta and pulmonary artery to their normal positions. The infant was placed on a bypass machine while the cardiac surgeons repaired his tiny heart, barely bigger than a walnut.

Nabil spent 10 days in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) before Kim and Kamal brought him home to Falls Church. He’s now a healthy, thriving baby boy. His parents are extraordinarily grateful for such a positive outcome.

“Kelly and Dr. Collazo were so encouraging and explained everything so well,” Kim says. “We were happy and relieved to know we could stay at Inova. It was the best place for our baby to be born.”

Care Under One Roof

The Inova Fairfax Medical Campus is home to not only the Inova Children’s Hospital, but also the Inova Heart & Vascular Institute and a world-class pediatric cardiology program.