The Alder Hey Cardiac Unit
The Alder Hey Cardiac Unit is a major referral centre and is the Cardiac Paediatric Surgical Centre for children with all forms of heart disease from Merseyside, the North West Region, North and Mid Wales and the Isle of Man.
Referrals are also received from the Greater Manchester area from the cardiology centre at Central Manchester Foundation Trust.
The cardiology team is made up of surgeons (4), cardiologists (5), cardiac liaison nurses (4) and specialised intensive care, anaesthetic, radiology and nursing support. It is one of the principal departments in one of the largest children’s hospital in Europe.
The department is a centre of excellence for joint cardiac and feeding support with a multidisciplinary clinic held weekly. The Alder Hey Cardiac Unit also provides cardiac MRI and cardiac CT services in conjunction with the Radiology Department.
The cardiac services at Alder Hey are housed in a purpose built unit. There are approximately 475 cardiac catheters, including diagnostic, interventional, hybrid closure of ventricular septal defects and RF ablations are carried out each year.
There has been a measured and systematic approach to developing and strengthening the surgical capability over recent years. This has allowed the team to build up the capacity to perform high quality surgery. The aim is to continue with that programme and having recently appointed a new surgeon the unit hopes to treat approximately 450 cases this year, rising to 500 next with approximately 250-300 of them requiring cardiopulmonary bypass!
Patients are seen with various heart conditions which include all complex forms of congenital heart disease in neonates including hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Alder Hey has fully equipped, dedicated operating theatres with their own specialist staff and a fully equipped catheter room with bi-plane angiography and multi-channel recording facilities. The cardiac unit shares the facilities of a 19-bed intensive care unit with an average cardiac occupancy of 10 beds in the unit.
The Cardiac Unit has its own outpatient department with attached ultra-sound and ECG facilities. Approximately 6500 outpatients are seen per year including 1500 new patients and also provide outreach clinic services to 19 local hospitals with approximately 225 outpatient clinics per year.
Patients are proactively managed from diagnosis (antenatal or post-natal) throughout their childhood and have a fully functioning transition service for adolescents transferring to adult care. The team also provide antenatal cardiac diagnosis and management at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital, Manchester.
The unit also comprises four dedicated cardiac liaison nurses that serve an important role in the interaction between the families and staff in the unit. The team runs pre-admission and pre-assessment for surgery and cardiac catheters and are recognised nationally for anti-coagulation services provided.
The Cardiac Surgical Fund
The Cardiac Surgical Fund has been set up to enable surgeons to share their knowledge and experiences with other hospitals which enables them to continuously develop skills and techniques in the more complex heart conditions. The fund also helps in the research into these conditions and provides important specialist equipment for use in theatre, ICU and for outpatients, all of which provides essential care to patients.