Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week is February 7 to 14. But for Ginnie Abarbanell, MD, who cares for the teeniest pediatric patients, CHD week is not just about raising awareness. For her, the stakes are much higher.
“We're finding that kids born with congenital heart disease are at increased risk for having issues with executive function, ADHD. They're also more at risk for having learning disabilities or learning differences at school. So it can sometimes make school very difficult.” she said. “They can struggle learning how to read, they can struggle doing math. And we all know that those kinds of things in elementary school – if you really struggle – put you on a different trajectory as an adult.”
Abarbanell said it’s not only her job to help her patients be the best kids they can be but also the best adults they can be, and she takes that job seriously.
Listen to Texas Public Radio's Science and Medicine podcast Episode 11: Thriving with Congenital Heart Disease featuring Abarbanell, chief of pediatric cardiology at UT Health San Antonio.
Episode 11: Thriving with congenital heart disease
Science & Medicine is a collaboration between TPR and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio about how scientific discovery in San Antonio advances the way medicine is practiced everywhere.