UK Revitalizing Children's Heart Program

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The congenital heart surgery program for children at the University of Kentucky has been shut down since last spring, when its surgeon left to take a job in Texas, and youngsters needing surgery have had to go out of state for treatment.

That poses hardships for families and is a situation UK pediatrics chairman Timothy Bricker says he wants to end.

The university recently hired Doctor Mark Plunkett, a noted pediatric children's heart surgeon from UCLA, who will perform operations and be co-director of a new Kentucky Children's Heart Center at Children's Hospital.

Plunkett says his immediate goal will be getting the children's surgery program back in operation as quickly as possible, then bringing new services on line, such as heart transplants for youngsters and care for adults who received heart operations in childhood, a new, emerging group of patients.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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