June 29, 2017

Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension program lauded

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) program has earned the top level of accreditation from the national Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt’s Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) program has earned the top level of accreditation from the national Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

Children’s Hospital’s PH program is now designated a Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center, making it one of only seven pediatric programs in the country to hold this distinction and the only program in the Southeastern United States.

This designation recognizes centers with expertise in pulmonary hypertension that have demonstrated an ability to properly diagnose the disease and have the capability to manage these complex patients using a multidisciplinary approach that also incorporates teaching and research. Each accredited center has undergone a rigorous review process, including a site review conducted by a PH physician and PH coordinator selected for their expertise in the field.

“This achievement is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work by individuals at Children’s Hospital and across the medical center,” said Paul Moore, M.D., director of the Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonary Medicine, vice chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics and associate professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology. “The focus on the highest level of clinical care and education of families and providers, combined with a robust research program, makes this center outstanding in the care of children with pulmonary hypertension. I am so proud and grateful for the leadership Eric Austin and Anna Brown bring to this program.”

PH is a life-threatening, debilitating disease of the lungs that affects the functioning of the heart and can lead to right heart failure. PH occurs when there is high blood pressure in the lung circulation, which is typically a low-pressure blood vessel system. PH may be associated with a large number of permanent or short-term abnormalities.

PHA launched its accreditation program to provide increased access for PH patients to high-quality care. PHA accreditation demonstrates programs that have undergone and will continue to abide by quality measurements to be sure they have capacity and knowledge to care for children with PH.

“Our program is truly a collaborative effort involving multiple specialists in pulmonary, cardiology, critical care, palliative care and beyond,” said pediatric pulmonologist Eric Austin, M.D., MSCI, director of Vanderbilt’s Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Program and assistant professor of Pediatrics.

“We are thriving due to the tremendous efforts of our clinical colleagues as well as the support of the Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital leadership teams, which have trusted our vision to grow and develop the program across the clinical, teaching and research domains. We also benefit greatly from close collaboration with our colleagues in the Vanderbilt adult PH program, also a PHCC-accredited program. Of course, at its core, the program is ultimately about the children and families — it is their trust, involvement and spirit that is our motor.”

As an accredited PH Comprehensive Care Center, Vanderbilt’s PH program will contribute to a PHA national patient registry that will track diagnostic and treatment patterns and patient outcomes, and help establish best practices in patient care.

“This national recognition validates the excellent care that our institution provides to children and families impacted by PH,” said Pulmonary Medicine’s Anna Brown, DNP, CPNP. “Our hope is that this accreditation helps us connect with more children living with PH to ensure they receive the right diagnosis early and are offered the best care available.”