Children's Heart Center

Our Team      Photogallery

A brief overview of the Children's Heart Center

Our specialized center is the only Czech comprehensive cardiovascular center for children and has nationwide scope. We are concerned mainly with the diagnosis and treatment of congenital cardiac defects in children, and we cooperate with other departments in the treatment of adult patients with congenital cardiac diseases; we also perform heart transplants.

Annually we perform over 400 operations and more than 300 catheterizations (about 2/3 are interventional). About 800 patients are hospitalized and we treat more than 5.000 outpatients. Yet the numbers are still increasing.

The specialized center regularly provides medical care for foreign patients through the Medevac Humanitarian Program and charities or humanitarian missions in Amman (Jordan) and Cambodia with sometimes a follow-up treatment of these patients at the Children´s Heart Center.

How will your detailed schedule look like? What type of surgeries, procedures, methods or treatment can you observe? Check what can you see by shadowing every member of the mentoring team.

 

Is this specialty placement ideal for you?

  • Do you want to work with children patients in your future career?  Are you responsible and emotionally stable as a person? This question is important, because we care for the youngest patients, who are enormously vulnerable and often in critical conditions. At the same time, there is nothing more satisfying than helping these newborns and kids to recover. Another advantage of our mentoring team is the great amount of international experience in their field and they are happy to share interesting insights in other world countries' healthcare systems with you.
  • If you are interested in Cardiovascular surgery, Cardiology, Pediatrics, Nursing, or Gynecology & Obstetrics, this placement will suit you perfectly. Our mentoring team consists mainly of nurses, however, if you are uncertain about your desired profession, you will appreciate being a part of a well coordinated Childrens' Heart Center team consisting of both nurses and doctors, who will allow you to observe and learn from their work and share their knowledge and experience with you.

Let's take a closer look at the specialties…

In 2011, our state-of-the-art Children's Heart Center was moved into a newly reconstructed building and it consists of two modern operating theatres, bi-plane digital catheterization lab, electrophysiology lab, echocardiography lab, 12-bed ICU, and 18-bed cardiology department. We are also able to accommodate accompanying persons such as parents or chaperones in the cardiology ward or hospital dormitory.

We care for the growth and development of  patients from prenatal age up to the age of 18 years who are suffering from congenital and acquired diseases of the heart and great vessels, including arrhythmias, and chronic cardiovascular dysfunction.

The center also takes part in the diagnosis and treatment of adults with congenital heart defects. We provide non-invasive and invasive diagnostics and medical treatment of heart diseases including prenatal diagnostics and therapy. Our specialists offer a full range of open-heart and close-heart cardiac surgeries for congenital and acquired heart diseases including those with the most complex anatomy. We also provide a wide spectrum of catheter interventions, such as valve and vessel dilations, septal defects and aberrant vessel closure and ablations of arrhythmogenic substrates. Pacemakers and implantable defibrillators are often used during our operations. A Preference for non-invasive diagnostic procedures (ECHO, MRI, CT) and primary corrections of the defects at an early age are the characteristic features of our center.

Patients from the operating rooms or CatLabs are received in our ICU. Sometimes our little patients are in such a condition that they require an extracorporeal support of circulation (ECMO) or another procedure called delayed sternal closure where, due to their condition, their chest remains open after the surgery. Our patients are often attached to artificial lung ventilation that helps them breath.  We also conduct peritoneal dialysis. Our team members carefully monitor the patient´s life functions and administer medication.

We provide comprehensive care to help our patients recover after the operation as soon as possible. It includes skincare, milk nutrition, preparation of catheters, drains, blood sampling, peritroneal dialysis, and last, but not least, the psychological support. The foreign hospital environment can be very stressful not only for the patient but also for the accompanying persons, be it parent or chaperone that have the opportunity to stay in the hospital and close to the child. Therefore it is important to take care of them, too.

What helps us to do our job smoothly is the best technological equipment. Above all, we should mention the bipolar sciascopy device, ECMO device, 3D transesophageal echocardiography, three-dimensional electro anatomic mapping system of arrhythmias, or the high - tech cryoablation system.

We are proud of all our colleagues in the department, who internationally publish their articles in books and journals.

Our center also includes following specialized outpatient departments:

  • Clinical cardiology
  • Electrophysiology and cardiostimulation
  • Prenatal cardiology
  • Connective tissue disease                                                                                                                                                

Who do we take care of?

We provide compendious surgical, catheter-intervention, and conservative treatment for children and adolescents with congenital heart disease, acquired disease of heart or major blood vessels, and possibly with stenosis of the lower airways. We also ensure comprehensive intensive care for patients suffering from congenital or acquired heart disease, including heart failure treatment, short- and long-term mechanical support of the circulation. We also provide a variety of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of cardiac arrhythmias, including catheter ablation and implants, as well as the prenatal detection of congenital heart defects, counseling and treatment of fetal arrhythmias.

Since the center is the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic, we care for patients throughout the country so our patients aren’t just referred from departments within the University Hospital in Motol. As a high level specialized center we have already conducted several heart transplants in children.

When we diagnose severe pre-birth heart disease, the mother-to-be gives birth in the hospital at the Specialized Center of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Then the newborn is passed directly to us and we provide further care.

Our methods and procedures

Our coordinated team performs these procedures within the department:

  • Recently, a new diagnostic method for autism spectrum disorders - Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) was put into operation. Since 2012, the ADOS has been already routinely used at the clinic and a total of 153 patients were tested until the end of 2013.
  • Program of long-term implantable heart assist device - the first patient was successfully treated for 7 months within the year 2014 and subsequently underwent transplant.
  • The comprehensive therapy of eating disorders, in which the department has a nationwide significance, is being further developed. In 2013, the research on suicidal behavior and self-harm in patients with eating disorders (47 girls examined) took place at our department, subsidized by The Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.

How does the usual schedule look like?

  • Our specialized center is always busy and the team works on regular schedule - 12 hours shifts. Even in the night we need to constantly look after the patients and support them. What's more, the child patients need more attention, safe to say, there is always a lot to do. According to your mentor, you will know the exact schedule on Monday morning. You will shadow the professionals providing care for our little patients for at least 25 hours weekly. 

If you are not sure whether this choice is suitable for you, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will discuss your experience and motivation and come up with the best solution for you.

Our Team


Photo Jan Šibík

Bc. Nikola Hanzlíková

ICU Ward Nurse

Nurse


To be honest, when I started working with children, I was quite afraid of taking care of them. But studying at the university gave me more courage and confidence. My dream was to work one day at the University Hospital in Motol - specifically in the ICU. Looking after the little patients requires a great amount of empathy, patience, specialized knowledge, and professionalism. In the end, this field and this specialization paid off so much for me.

Why did I become a healthcare professional?

I have always enjoyed taking care of others. That´s why I decided to study at a nursing school. My family and friends tried to talk me out of my pursuit. But I resisted and finished with excellent grades. I really do my best to be a great nurse all the time as every patient wants to receive care from professional and intelligent people.

I will share everything I know about the work of pediatric nurse in cardio surgery with you during the CHP Program.

What do I love the most about my specialty?

I like the highly specialized, exceptional workplace – the one and only in the Czech Republic. It gives me the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary team, the possibility to improve my knowledge and professional experience and skills, the chance to participate in specialized and educational activities, and the opportunity to take part in the international charity project MEDEVAC . My field also helps me to improve my English, thanks to the priceless communication with other nurses from abroad.

What can you see by shadowing our team?

You will see nursing care for children with heart and blood vessel diseases, arrhythmias, inborn heart disorders before and after surgery, and newborns with inborn heart disorders. You can observe milk nutrition administration, which is administered via nasogastric probe or percutaneous endosopic gastronomy (PEG); care for patients with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), left ventricular assist devide (LVAD), peritoneal dialysis; advanced CPR and care of children after CPR; controlled hypothermia, care of children with a secondary sternal closure; preparation and administration of all types of medication, catheters or drains, sampling of peripheral blood, central and arterial lines, and blood cultures. We insert invasive inputs and nasogastric probes, care for children before and after heart transplants, and those with inotropic support or with psychological and psychiatric disorders. Our patients are foreign children within international charity projects, too. I will show you what it means to be a nurse in pediatric cardio surgery, all of my daily tasks and duties.

Apart from being a healthcare professional...

There is a lot what I like to do outside of the hospital. I like to read books, watch movies, listen to music or meet with my friends. As with most other people, I enjoy traveling and tourism. Also, I like rodent breeding and floriculture.

My motto…

All my mistakes and unpleasant situations are moving me forward.

Photo Jan Šibík

Bc. Lucie Laciaková

ICU Nurse

Nurse


“When I finish my studies, I will move to Prague and work in the pediatric cardio center”. That is a sentence I said and kept in mind while studying in nursing school. And when I finished my studies, that´s exactly what happened. When I got the job in Pediatric ICU, I immediately fell in love with my new professional life. It brought me also the opportunity to join an international project called MEDEVAC, where I educated and supervised a team of healthcare professionals in Cambodia.

Why did I become a healthcare professional?

I remember exactly when I decided to become a nurse. This moment happened at home, with my parents in the living room. On our old TV was airing an episode of the series M*A*S*H. I remember I was fascinated that somewhere there are people who understand the human body and diseases in the way they can cure a patient and take care of them so that they could walk, talk, and live a normal life again. I became a nurse and had the chance to become the next Major Houlihan, who is, in my own opinion, the best fictional nurse that has ever lived. And although I did not have much experience with pediatrics, I knew that children are nice, funny, and not selfish.

Future colleagues, we are looking forward to meeting you. You will see an exceptional department. Our patients will never stop surprising me by their will to live and survive.

What do I love the most about my specialty?

I love the opportunity to have everyday contact with pediatric patients, as they always give me optimism and inner strength. They will never stop surprising me with their will to live and survive. There is nothing better than to watch how a health condition of a child gets better, day by day with many many steps. I like the environment of the ICU because it is one of the most modern facilities within the Czech Republic, and is the most interesting medical field to me. What I like about our work is the fact that it is one of the fastest evolving fields in pediatrics and, therefore, there are huge requirements on us as nurses.

What can you see by shadowing our team?

Due to the fact that our pediatric ICU is the one and only in the Czech Republic, you will see the admission of injured patients to our department from other departments within the University Hospital in Motol, as well as from other hospital facilities in Czech Republic. You will see the re-application of bandages and the removal of chest drains and stitches as well as patients with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Some inborn heart disorders can be diagnosed before a child is born. If the disorder is life threatening, the mother will give birth at our hospital in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialized Center and then pass the newborn to us immediately. If this occurs, you will have a possibility to see a newborn. Also you will witness the management of invasive inputs and taking care of patients with artificial lung ventilation. We are proud to say that last year our department conducted several heart transplants.

Apart from being a healthcare professional...

I like sports – jogging, beach volleyball, and cycling. I enjoy watching TV series and documentaries. I also like reading and education.

My motto…

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Photo Jan Šibík

Miroslav Vošahlík

ARU Nurse

Nurse


I started my career in healthcare as a paramedic, which is definitely a worthy profession, but also a very demanding one. There, I realized that I can bear every aspect of healthcare with the exception of witnessing death, so I needed to switch to another healthcare job. That is why I started working at the pediatric cardiac center in the University Hospital in Motol in the postoperative ICU. It was a life-changing experience. I was helping young patients after they went through surgery, and I decided that I wanted to be a part of the surgery itself, and so my real career began. Today, I work in operating rooms as an anesthesiology assistant.

Why did I become a healthcare professional?

In the past, when I thought about my future career, I was actually considering playing basketball for a living, as that was my great passion. However, I also realized that I needed education as a backup in case I could not pursue a career as a professional player. That is how I chose to enter medical high school, although I was not completely sure about that decision. I found out that learning Latin and studying the human body were not as bad as I had imagined. As time went by, my urge to help people in need grew. Later, I started to enjoy working in healthcare, as it still allowed me to pursue my favorite hobby - sports.

Take the opportunity to see something that other people usually cannot – the cooperation of professionals while saving a human life. I can tell you that being present in the operating room is an experience that you will remember for your entire life.

What do I love the most about my specialty?

I love the fact that I am part of a team, and together we help people while giving them the opportunity to get back to their lives. Every day is different, as I meet new patients daily, and my colleagues are amazing. Another great thing is that I am still in contact with many specialists from various branches of medicine. If you know how to listen and observe properly, you will learn something new every day.

What can you see by shadowing our team?

With me, you will be able to see the work in the Department of Cardiac Anesthesia and its wards – adult, pediatric, angiography, diagnostic and therapeutic catheterization in children, the arrhythmogenic ablation operating room, and the septic operating room. You will witness the entire process of surgery in the pediatric cardiology ward and see a variety of equipment, such as the invasive measurement system for arterial and venous pressure, intubation equipment, the anesthesia machine, medicaments for anesthesia and possibly resuscitation, sterile tables, and other necessary items. I will show you the process of preparation in its entirety, including peripheral venous cannulation, pharmacological induction of sleep and relaxation of the patient, preparation of the patient’s respiratory system for intubation, arterial and central venous catheterization, and the positioning of the patient for the surgery itself. During the entire surgery, we will monitor the patient’s physiological functions and administer pharmaceuticals, infusions, and/or blood derivatives.

Apart from being a healthcare professional...

I enjoy sports, culture, history, and playing the PS3. I am also a DIY enthusiast.

My motto…

Love is God.

Photogallery

LOVE WHAT YOU DO WITH EVERY HEARTBEAT