Donors Help Riley Heart Program Reach Top Five

July 7, 2020
Topics: Donors, Heart (cardiology), About Us

River Harbin Heart Impact Blog Full-Size Image 2020.07.07
Riley cardiology patient River Harbin, Otwell, Ind., was supported by a Berlin Heart while awaiting a transplant.

The pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health is now ranked fifth in the nation and is the highest ranked program in the Midwest, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. Gifts from Riley Children’s Foundation donors have provided critical resources that allow the Riley team to advance care for heart patients.

Donor gifts help the heart program in many ways, including funding Riley’s mechanical circulatory support devices. These devices support children while they await a heart transplant. For children like River Harbin, who was on a Berlin Heart while awaiting his transplant last year, mechanical support devices often mean better health and outcomes. River received his new heart in the summer of 2019. Today, the little boy who once had an 18 percent chance of survival is thriving. River loves spending time outdoors fishing and playing with his family. “Donors have made a huge impact on our ability to have the equipment to support children with failing hearts as a bridge to transplant,” said Mark Turrentine, M.D., the Riley pediatric heart surgeon who performed River’s transplant surgery. “River’s case exemplifies what it means to have a complex care team in an integrated cardiovascular center.”

Support from donors is also helping Riley continue to innovate care options for even the tiniest patients. “Because of philanthropic support, we’ve seen a dramatic impact on quality of life for our patients, from the premature infants to now adults born with congenital heart disease,” says Larry Markham, M.D., Riley Pediatric Cardiology Division Chief. “Your donations ensure that we can help them not only survive, but thrive. Our team also depends upon donors to fuel the research that is rapidly changing the way we make a diagnosis, improving our surgical techniques, helping us unlock genetic causes of heart problems and leading us to improved therapies.”

Along with its rise in rankings, the Riley Heart Center has also seen a dramatic increase in patient cases:

• 11,702 outpatient cardiology visits in 2019 (up from 7,750 in 2016);

 • More than 17,000 echocardiograms in 2019 – the most in Riley history; 

• More than 1,600 fetal cardiology evaluations annually; 

• More than 500 catheterization cases in 2019 (up from 372 in 2013); 

• 21 premature infants underwent catheterization surgery for closure of patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect in which a blood vessel leading from the heart doesn’t close properly; Riley is the only hospital in Indiana to offer this option for preemies without open-heart surgery. 

Riley Children’s Foundation extends congratulations to the Riley Heart Center team for its exceptional work that led to the top-five ranking. We are grateful to every donor who gives from the heart to help Riley mend the hearts of children and adults born with a congenital heart condition.

In 2020-2021, Riley is one of only 24 children’s hospitals in the country to rank in all 10 pediatric specialties by U.S. News. In addition to cardiology and heart surgery, urology also earned top five status – placing second in the nation.

Blog updated on July 7, 2020 

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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