The Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of delaying or preventing heart failure for individuals affected by congenital heart defects including HLHS. As pioneering surgery and evolving medical practices have dramatically changed the outlook for children with HLHS in the past two decades, many young adults have now successfully overcome the challenges of reconstructive heart surgeries. The emerging obstacles now drive our Mayo Clinic team with a new focus and purpose to transform treatment options. At Mayo, we have recruited a specialized team to address basic questions of congenital heart disease with the goal of unlocking the potential of emerging technologies from clinical imaging to molecular genetics to regenerative applications. With the right team focused on the right questions, we have come to expect the unexpected and strive to transform idealism into practice.
We are currently studying three important HLHS topic areas.
Our team-based program is unique in that it encompasses clinical, research, and educational components that are necessary to meet the complex needs of our patients. Our unparalleled focus on HLHS provides us with a constant reminder of what we do and why we do it.
We are a multidisciplinary research team devoted to finding better solutions for individuals affected by HLHS. Our team includes physicians, scientists, study coordinators, project managers, laboratory personnel, and administrative partners. Led by Dr. Timothy Nelson, a physician/scientist in the Transplant Center with a passion for stem cell-based applications. Other programmatic leadership includes Dr. Timothy Olson, a pediatric cardiologist with a strong track-record in the genetics of heart disease, Dr. Patrick O’Leary, a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in cardiac imaging of congenital heart disease, and Dr. Andre Terzic, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine who has pioneered clinical applications for stem cells in cardiac repair. Collectively, our goal is to determine the genetic cause of HLHS, predict lifetime function of the right ventricle, and develop a regenerative solution to keep the right ventricle healthy throughout life.