Medicine & Dentistry-Pediatrics
University of Alberta
Summary of research:
Screening for high-risk pregnancies using handheld ultrasound Maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity can be reduced by prenatal diagnosis using ultrasound, however availability is limited in resource-poor regions. In this study, we will validate the training and use of an antenatal screening protocol to detect high-risk pregnancies using a hand-held ultrasound device. This research is evolving at the UAlberta Royal Alexandra Hospital in collaboration with members of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Program. My Role: Principal Investigator & Study Coordinator. Prenatal diagnosis of coarctation of the aorta in Alberta Critical coarctation of the aorta can result in severe disability or death if not diagnosed early, however it remains challenging to diagnose before birth and can be missed by pulse oximetry screening after birth. In this study we are retrospectively examining the timing of diagnosis of coarctation in Alberta over 10 years and will determine the performance of prenatal predictors of the need for early intervention in an effort to optimize prenatal screening and detection of the lesion. My Role: Principal Investigator Mechanics of the left ventricle in fetal Ebstein's anomaly. Fetal and neonatal Ebstein's anomaly is a rare congenital defect of the tricuspid valve, with a poor prognosis. Left ventricular function is a predictor of mortality, however, the mechanics of left ventricular failure are not well understood. In this study we are using advanced functional imaging techniques to better describe the left ventricular functional adaptation in Ebstein's anomaly during fetal and neonatal life, aiming to develop more accurate tools to predict outcome and guide type of intervention / timing of delivery. Multicenter collaborative study involving the University of Colorado and University of Michigan. My Role: Principal Investigator. The role of the placenta in development of congenital heart disease. The placental-heart developmental axis recently been recognized as important to both organs. Twin-twin transfusion syndrome is a clinical model of placental dysfunction leading to heart dysfunction, and in 10-14% structural heart malformations. In this study, we are developing a mouse model of placental over-expression of Endothelin-1, a vasoactive peptide. We are utilizing this model to examine how placental dysfunction may affect the fetal heart using selective placental gene transduction and state-of-the-art ultrasound biomicroscopy to examine heart structure and cardiovascular function. My Role: Co-Principal Investigator with Dr Lisa Hornberger & Dr Denise Hemmings and Study Coordinator. As Study Coordinator, in a relatively short period I have put together a study team involving basic and clinical scientists from embryology, obstetrics and biochemistry as well as cardiology, completed the necessary training and application for animal ethics approval and successfully written an operational grant to support this work.