New Pediatric Cardiologist Joins Doernbecher

01/14/04    Portland, Ore.

Yuk Law, M.D., will work toward building a heart transplant program for children

Pediatric cardiologist Yuk Law, M.D., recently joined the cardiology team at the OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Law is the new director of heart failure and transplant services. One of his primary goals is to help create a pediatric heart transplant program at Doernbecher so children won't have to leave Oregon for this highly specialized procedure. Law was formerly at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

"The recruitment of Dr. Law helps to round out an already excellent team," said Mark Reller, M.D., chief of pediatric cardiology at Doernbecher and professor of pediatrics (cardiology) in the OHSU School of Medicine. "He brings new expertise that further enhances the high quality program at the Doernbecher Children's Hospital."

Law earned his medical degree from the University of California in Los Angeles. He went on to perform his pediatric residency at the Yale-New Haven Hospital where he also served as a clinical instructor in pediatric emergency medicine.

Law spent three years in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Pediatric Scientist Development Program at the Yale University School of Medicine. He then served a pediatric cardiology fellowship at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, before accepting a position as assistant professor of pediatrics (cardiology) at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"I came to Doernbecher because of the tremendous potential for growth and development given the stable foundation and fantastic talent already here," said Law.

His clinical areas of specialty include heart failure and cardiomyopathy management, heart transplantation, pulmonary hypertension, and diagnostic cardiac catheterization.

As director of heart failure and transplant services at Doernbecher, Law will work closely with Irving Shen, M.D., a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon who will direct the surgical team for the heart transplant program. Each year this pediatric heart surgery team performs more than 250 open heart surgical cases, including repair of the most complex defects, with results that far exceed the national average, making it one of the top children's heart surgery programs in the country.

During the last few years, Doernbecher has been strengthening its cardiology and cardiac surgery team. Reller, together with his colleague Ross Ungerleider, M.D., chief of pediatric cardiac surgery at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, will oversee the pediatric cardiac services.

The highly trained Doernbecher team includes:

  •     Seshadri Balaji, M.D., ablation and electrophysiology procedures in children with heart rhythm disorders
  •     Grant Burch, M.D., interventional cardiac catheterization, providing nonsurgical options for repair     of   certain cardiac defects
  •     Michael Silberbach, M.D., cardiac MRI imaging of heart defects
  •     Mary Rice, M.D., fetal diagnosis and pediatric echocardiography
  •     Victor Menashe, M.D., adult congenital heart disease
  •     David Sahn, M.D., noninvasive cardiac imaging (echocardiography, cardiac MRI)
  •     Robin Shaughnessy, M.D., pediatric congenital heart disease and echocardiography
  •     Mary Minette, M.D., pediatric echocardiography
  •     Paul Droukas, M.D., a Kaiser Permanente cardiologist specializing in pediatric congenital heart disease

An integral piece of the team is Doernbecher's Non-Invasive Cardiac Services Lab, which comprises specially trained pediatric echo technicians. The Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories recently accredited the program's fetal echocardiography, pediatric transthoracic and pediatric transesophageal echocardiography services, making it the first such program on the west coast to receive this triple accreditation. It is the 10th echocardiology lab to be established nationwide.

The cardiology and cardiac surgery teams are building the infrastructure needed for a high quality, successful heart transplant program. However, because the program is still in development, no transplants are being scheduled at this time.

The OHSU Department of Anesthesiology and Peri-Operative Medicine also is gearing up for the pediatric heart transplant program. Veronica C. Swanson, M.D., director of pediatric cardiac anesthesiology, plans to add a third member to her team to support the new program. Team members have specialty training, making them uniquely qualified to care for pediatric heart transplant patients.

"The cardiac diseases that necessitate transplant in children are different from those in adults," Swanson said. "Often pediatric patients have congenital heart disease that makes their heart look and function very differently from what we normally think of as a human heart. These differences, along with the usual way children are treated differently than adults, dictate the anesthetics. Our training and expertise improve the safety of care these children receive."

OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital provides the region's widest range of children's health care services and is the primary center for Oregon Health & Science University's pediatric programs. As part of OHSU, Oregon's only health and research university, Doernbecher offers patients outstanding primary care and access to cutting-edge treatments. More than 200 pediatric specialists at Doernbecher care for 40,000 children each year from Oregon and surrounding states.