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Information for Patients

Outpatient Services and Inpatient Units: (302) 651-6660

After 5 p.m. and Weekends:

Cardiac Intensive Care Unit: (302) 651-6644
General Inpatient Unit, 2B: (302) 651-6690


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Patients

+1 (302) 651-4993

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Doctors & Care Teams

Nemours Cardiac Center at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington, DE 19803 | Get Map & Directions »


Cardiac Center Doctors

U.S. News & World Report logo for Best Children’s Hospitals 2014-2015.Everyone in the Nemours Cardiac Center works as part of a team that specializes in comprehensive, family-centered care for children with the simplest to the most complex heart conditions. Many of us have worked together since the center opened. Our entire Nemours Cardiac Center team is dedicated, 100 percent, to taking care of children with heart conditions. Ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, we also earned the distinction of being named one of only a few Pediatric Heart Failure Institutes in the country.

As national leaders in pediatric heart care, many of our board-certified pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists and critical care physicians at the Nemours Cardiac Center are named, year after year, as some of the Best Doctors in America®. Our physicians also publish frequently in professional journals, participate in national and international medical meetings, and teach the doctors of tomorrow as members of the faculty at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

 
Heart Surgery

Christian Pizarro, MD

Director, Nemours Cardiac Center
Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Specialties: Cardiothoracic surgery, surgical management of single ventricle patients, neonatal cardiac surgery, valve repair, tracheal reconstruction surgery, heart transplantation
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Pizarro »


Ryan Davies, MD

Director, Nemours Mechanical Circulatory Support and Cardiac Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) Program

Specialties: Cardiothoracic surgery, neonatal cardiac surgery, heart transplantation, mechanical circulatory support devices, surgery on the thoracic aorta and aortic valve
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Davies »


Glenn Pelletier, MD

Specialties: Cardiothoracic surgery, heart surgery, heart transplantation, congenital heart defects
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Pelletier »

 
Cardiac Catheterization & Electrophysiology

Wolfgang Radtke, MD

Director, Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Specialties: Cardiology, cardiac catheterization procedures (to close abnormal connections in the heart, insert stents, and open obstructed valves or blood vessels), diagnostic cardiac catheterizations, cardiac biopsies
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Radtke »


Joel Temple, MD

Director, Electrophysiology

Specialties: Cardiology, diagnosis and treatment of abnormal cardiac rhythms (including electrophysiology studies and ablations), pacemaker insertion and management, internal defibrillator insertion and management
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Temple »


 
Cardiology

Samuel Gidding, MD

Division Chief, Pediatric Cardiology

Specialties: Cardiology, preventive cardiology (including hypertension, obesity and hyperlipidemia), congenital heart defects, heart failure and transplantation
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Gidding »


Paul Anisman, MD

Specialties: Cardiology, fetal cardiology and echocardiography, pediatric echocardiography
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Anisman »


Jeanne Marie Baffa, MD

Director, Echocardiography
Director, Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship
Co-Director of Education, Nemours Cardiac Center

Specialties: Cardiology, pediatric echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, management of pediatric patients with complex heart defects
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Baffa »


Abdul Majeed Bhat, MD

Specialties: Cardiology, fetal cardiology and echocardiography, management of neonatal congenital heart disease, pediatric echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Bhat »


Rami Kharouf, MD

Specialties: Cardiology, fetal cardiology and echocardiography, pediatric echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, preventive cardiology, congenital heart defects
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Kharouf »


Michael McCulloch, MD

Director, Cardiac MRI Program
Medical Director, Pulmonary Hypertension Program

Specialties: Cardiology, pediatric cardiac critical care, pediatric pulmonary arterial hypertension, cardiac MRI, heart failure and transplantation
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. McCulloch »


Steven Ritz, MD

Co-Director of Education, Nemours Cardiac Center

Specialties: Cardiology, congenital heart defects associated with genetic syndromes, medical education
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Ritz »


Bradley Robinson, MD

Specialties: Cardiology, pediatric echocardiography, pediatric exercise physiology
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Robinson »


Deepika Thacker, MD

Specialties: Cardiology, fetal cardiology and echocardiography, pediatric echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, management of pediatric patients with complex heart disease
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Thacker »


Takeshi Tsuda, MD

Specialties: Cardiology, heart failure and cardiomyopathy, basic science research of heart failure
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Tsuda »


Frances Zappalla, MD

Specialties: Cardiology, pediatric echocardiography, preventive cardiology (including obesity and weight management), integrative medicine
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Zappalla »

 
Anesthesia & Cardiac Critical Care

Ellen Spurrier, MD

Director, Division of Cardiac Anesthesiology

Specialties: Pediatric cardiac anesthesiology, anesthesia for pediatric cardiac patients having noncardiac surgery, pediatric cardiac critical care, quality and safety improvement in pediatric cardiac care
Learn More About Dr. Spurrier »


Deborah Davis, MD

Medical Director, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU)

Specialties: Pediatric cardiac critical care, pediatric cardiac anesthesiology
Learn More About Dr. Davis »


Caroline Boyd, MD

Specialties: Pediatric cardiac critical care, pediatric ECMO support
Learn More About Dr. Boyd »


Aisha Frazier, MD

Specialties: Pediatric cardiac critical care, cardiology
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. Frazier »


Michael McCulloch, MD

Director, Cardiac MRI Program
Medical Director, Pulmonary Hypertension Program

Specialties: Pediatric cardiac critical care, pediatric pulmonary arterial hypertension, cardiac MRI, heart failure and transplantation, cardiology
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Dr. McCulloch »


John Ostrowski, MD

Specialties: Pediatric cardiac anesthesiology
Learn More About Dr. Ostrowski »


Glenn Pelletier, MD

Specialties: Cardiothoracic surgery, heart surgery, heart transplants, congenital heart defects
Make an Appointment: (800) 416-4441
Learn More About Pelletier »


Abhaya Seshachar, MD

Specialties: Pediatric cardiac anesthesiology, pediatric regional anesthesia
Learn More About Dr. Seshachar »

Who's Who in the Nemours Cardiac Center

In addition to our physicians, the Nemours Cardiac Center team includes many other experts in the care of pediatric heart patients: experienced and specialized nurses, nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), pharmacists, technicians, therapists, dietitians/nutritionists, social worker, clinical psychologist,  genetic counselor, Child Life specialists, educators and researchers — all of whom contribute to the care of children in our inpatient and outpatient heart care units and assist families in many ways.

Our team works exclusively in the Cardiac Center, allowing for instantaneous communication, collaboration and rapid coordination of care for our patients. In addition, to ensure a full spectrum of care for children with complex conditions, we have access to more than 30 other pediatric medical and surgical specialties within Nemours including genetics, gastroenterology, pulmonology, neonatalogy,  neurology, diagnostic and interventional radiology, pediatric general surgery and ENT surgery (ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology).

Our patient — your child — is always at the center of our care team, but the team can be large and overwhelming. So here’s a brief summary of who does what in the Nemours Cardiac Center:


Doctors in the Cardiac Center

 
Cardiothoracic or Cardiovascular Surgeons

These physicians specialize in performing surgical procedures involving the heart and blood vessels. (Thoracic refers to the chest. Vascular refers to blood vessels.)

Learn More About Heart Surgery »

 
Critical Care Physicians

These physicians provide intensive care and monitoring for kids who may have a failure or malfunction of any of the vital organs such as the heart, lungs, brain, kidney or liver. These doctors employ medicines and devices to help support your child while recovering from an operation and/or an illness. (These doctors are sometimes called “intensivists” because they provide intensive care.)

 
Electrophysiologists

These are cardiologists with special training in diagnosing and treating abnormal heart rhythms.

 
Interventional Cardiologists

These are pediatric cardiologists who specialize in performing cardiac catheterizations to treat certain heart defects. A cardiac catheterization involves placing a thin tube (catheter) into a blood vessel in the groin or neck, and using X-rays to guide it into the heart.

Learn More About Cardiac Catheterization »

 
Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesiologists

These anesthesiology doctors have special training and/or experience in providing anesthesia and supporting vital functions for infants and children with heart abnormalities who are having cardiac surgery, cardiac testing, plus other procedures or non-heart surgery. Anesthesiologists also provide sedation and help with pain management.

 
Pediatric Cardiologists

These physicians are specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormalities of the heart and blood vessels in infants, children and teens. When a child is born with a heart problem, these abnormalities are known as “congenital heart disease” or “congenital heart defects.” Pediatric cardiologists also care for children that develop heart problems that they were not born with. In addition, pediatric cardiologists prescribe medications and perform echocardiograms (ultrasounds of the heart), EKGs (a test of the heart’s electrical activity) or other tests to monitor the function of the heart.

 
Fetal Cardiologists

These pediatric cardiologists specialize in the prenatal (prior to birth) diagnosis of congenital heart defects using fetal echocardiograms (ultrasounds of the baby’s heart during pregnancy). They advise the mother’s obstetrician about any special care that should be taken during pregnancy or delivery and arrange for transfer to and care of the baby in the Nemours Cardiac Center after birth.


Nursing

 
Director, Cardiac Nursing
Wilma Berends, RN

Wilma is responsible for all the nursing operations in the Nemours Cardiac Center. She collaborates with other leaders of the Cardiac Center team, as well as other departments in Nemours to achieve the highest quality care. Wilma also developed the Family Advisory Council for the Cardiac Center.

 
Nurse Manager, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU)
Janet Prozzillo, BSN, RN

Janet is responsible for the daily operations in the CICU, supervising and mentoring the bedside nurses.

 
Nurse Manager, Inpatient Unit 2B
Dekeisha Howard, MSN, RN

Dekeisha is responsible for the daily operations in the inpatient cardiac unit, supervising and mentoring the bedside nurses and the support staff on 2B (our general inpatient unit).

 
Nurse Manager, Cardiac Outpatient
Linda Morris, BSN, RN, MMGT

Linda is responsible for the daily operations in the outpatient services area, supervising and mentoring nurses, medical assistants and support personnel.

 
Cardiac Nurses

Registered nurses (or “RNs”) in the Nemours Cardiac Center provide 24-hour care at your child’s bedside. Working 12-hour shifts, the cardiac nurses typically have one to two patients in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and three to four in the inpatient unit (called “2B”). Our nurses undergo extensive training in the specialty of cardiac disease and are dedicated to giving the best possible care.


Core Team Members

 
Nurse Practitioners & Physician Assistants

Pediatric nurse practitioners and physician assistants have specialized education, training, experience and skills that have prepared them to provide care for children with heart disease. They are central members of our team who work under the supervision of the designated attending physician in the delivery of patient care.

 
Cardiac Care Coordinator
Barbara Sands, RN

As the link between patients’ families and members of the health care team, the cardiac care coordinator is a very experienced cardiac nurse who helps organize care for our patients, from the outpatient environment through hospitalization and discharge to home.

 
Cardiac Social Worker
Judith Ruley

Cardiac social workers are professionally trained to help children and families who are dealing with difficult situations. They offer counseling and assist with transportation, lodging, finances and insurance, as well as link children and families with resources such as a pharmacy or home care company. Our social worker also helps families cope by providing frequent updates while a child is undergoing surgery or a procedure.

Learn More About Social Workers »

 
Clinical Psychologist
Erica Sood, PhD

Infants and young children who have surgery, intensive therapy and long hospitalizations may sometimes be delayed in meeting the usual developmental milestones. Early intervention can often prevent long-term problems. That’s why the Nemours Cardiac Center has a full-time pediatric psychologist available to help identify children who may experience developmental delays, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or learning disabilities as a result of a serious heart condition or its treatment. In collaboration with parents and pediatricians, our psychologist provides inpatient and outpatient developmental screening. We aim to identify all children within the Nemours Cardiac Center who could benefit from early intervention and related services.

Learn More About Dr. Sood »

 
Transplant Coordinator
Shylah Haldeman, MSN, NP-C, CCTC

The transplant coordinator assists the medical team in evaluating a patient for heart transplantation, helps families with preoperative testing and preparing for surgery, and provides information and support during the waiting period. After the transplant, the transplant coordinator supports the patient and family with medication management, coordination of follow-up visits, and obtaining helpful community resources.

Learn More About Heart Transplants »


Other Cardiac Center Team Members

 
Child Life Specialist
Jennifer Jankowski

Our Child Life specialist at the Nemours Cardiac Center helps support children during stressful hospital experiences, often through play, art and other fun activities. Depending upon the child’s age, Child Life specialists may use puppets, dolls and books to help children and their siblings become familiar with hospital equipment and procedures.

Learn More About Child Life Specialists »

 
Clinical Dietitians

Clinical dietitians are trained to create diet plans and offer dietary counseling to meet the special needs of our patients. They write recipes for high-calorie or other special infant feeding formulas for babies who need “catch-up growth” after surgery and hospitalization. They work with families prior to discharge and in the outpatient setting to help kids with cardiac problems achieve normal growth.

Learn More About Dietitians »

 
ECMO Coordinator

The ECMO coordinator is a specialized health care professional who's responsible for organizing the personnel and equipment necessary for the smooth day-to-day care of patients who need the assistance of a mechanical device (machine) to support their heart and lungs.

 
ECMO Specialist

A nurse, respiratory therapist or perfusionist who's specially trained to operate and monitor the ECMO circuit.

 
Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists conduct cardiopulmonary exercise tests (also called “exercise tests” or “stress tests”) in our outpatient services exercise lab by measuring a child’s heart rate and rhythm while exercising (riding a stationary bicycle and/or running on a treadmill under supervision).

 
Genetic Counselor
Kristi Fitzgerald

Many cardiac conditions are caused, at least in part, by changes in genes that are important for the heart to develop and function normally. The Cardiac Center’s certified genetic counselor offers counseling to our patients and families when the cause of a cardiac condition may have a genetic component. Providing further insight into the genetic cause of a condition frequently benefits the immediate and extended family as well as the patient.

 
Geneticist
Nina Powell-Hamilton, MD

Our medical geneticist, Dr. Nina Powell-Hamilton, specializes in cardiovascular genetics to assist in the evaluation of your child’s cardiac condition. Dr. Powell-Hamilton has a dual appointment in both the Division of Medical Genetics and the Nemours Cardiac Center.

Learn More About Dr. Powell-Hamilton

 
Lactation Consultant

Children with heart conditions often have feeding problems and cannot always breastfeed. This professional is trained to help mothers who want to breastfeed their babies.

 
Palliative Care, Integrative Medicine & Pain Management

Pediatric palliative care focuses on relieving pain and enhancing the quality of life of children with chronic, severe, life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Integrative medicine and pain management uses a family-centered approach to develop a balanced outpatient and/or inpatient plan that’s focused on physical and emotional rehabilitation and whole-child wellness.

Learn More About Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine

 
Pastoral Care

Pastoral care provides strength and support when you and your child need it the most. Our pastoral care team can help you cope with the stress of your child’s diagnosis and treatment or just being away from home. They can offer religious services, contact a clergy member of your own faith tradition, and offer emotional support if you’re faced with difficult decisions.

Learn More About Pastoral Care »

 
Perfusionist

A cardiovascular perfusionist is a specialized health care professional and key member of a cardiac surgery team who manages the heart-lung machine during cardiac surgery. The perfusionist, under the supervision of the surgeon, is responsible for the management of oxygen delivery and blood flow to the patient while the heart is being operated upon.

 
Pharmacist

Pharmacists are experts in the medical properties, proper dosing and interactions of medicines recommended for patients. The Cardiac Center pharmacist has special experience and knowledge regarding medications that are used to treat pediatric heart patients in and outside of the hospital.

 
Physical Therapists

Physical therapists (or “PTs,” for short) prevent, identify and correct movement problems. Within the Cardiac Center they assess and provide treatment to patients who have movement limitations due to long hospitalizations or underlying medical conditions. 

Learn More About Physical Therapists »

 
Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists at the Nemours Cardiac Center have experience and knowledge in evaluating and treating breathing problems associated with pediatric heart disease. They manage mechanical ventilators used to support patients who are unable to breathe without assistance, adjust oxygen therapy, and deliver breathing treatments and chest physiotherapy (or “chest PT,” which are exercises that move mucus out of the lungs to open airway passages) to patients throughout the Cardiac Center. A specially-trained group of respiratory therapists assists our anesthesiologists in providing anesthesia care to our patients.

 
Sonographers

Sonographers have special training that prepares them to use ultrasound equipment to make two- or three-dimensional images of the heart (called “echocardiograms”). Our experienced sonographers are skilled in working with young children who have difficulty staying still for an echocardiogram, and obtaining good pictures in wiggly babies. Echocardiograms provide important information about the heart’s structures and function.

 
Speech Therapists & Occupational Therapists

Feeding problems in children with congenital heart defects may be related to a delay in feeding as a newborn; problems with suck, swallow and breathing coordination; muscle weakness; and easy tiring. The speech therapist in the Cardiac Center evaluates and treats feeding-related problems in infants and young children with feeding and swallowing issues.
Learn More About Speech Therapists »

Occupational therapists  work with infants and children to help them develop the skills they need to interact with their environment such as seeing, hearing and using their hands.
Learn More About Occupational Therapists »

 
Teachers

When a school-aged child will be staying at the hospital for at least 10 days — or will be missing school for a few weeks — our certified teachers will work with the family, the child’s school teacher and other members of the care team to create an appropriate lesson plan based on the child’s needs. Education sessions can take place at the child’s bedside or in our hospital classroom, during normal school days and hours. The length of the sessions depends on many things, including a child’s health and emotional well-being.

Learn More About Our School Program »

 
Unit Clerks

Unit clerks at the Cardiac Center man the telephones and the doors and serve as vital communication coordinators between the patient units and procedure areas. They assist the medical team by maintaining critical supplies and equipment. They’re available to answer questions, provide directions, and help families learn about the resources available to make an extended stay in the hospital a little easier.

Expert Care With Heart

The dedicated Nemours Cardiac Center team works 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide comprehensive, compassionate, family-centered heart center care for babies, kids, teens and expectant parents — when it matters the most.



Stories From the Heart

Meet children treated in the Nemours Cardiac Center who know what it’s like to live with a heart problem.

Read Their Inspiring Stories »