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Heart Center

From diagnosis and medical management of common cardiac disorders to treatment of complex congenital heart conditions, we are committed to providing the most advanced medical and surgical care for infants, children and teens with all forms of congenital and acquired heart disease, as well as for adults with congenital heart disease. 

While defects in the structures of the heart or blood vessels are among the most common birth defects, advances in treatment have greatly improved the quality of life for patients with congenital heart disease, allowing them to thrive into adulthood. 

 

Collaborative, specialized care.

Through an affiliation agreement with Cleveland Clinic, we’ve brought together a combined team of 30 pediatric cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons who provide complete cardiac care for congenital heart disease in children and adults.

This program, known as the Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Center, gives your family access to the very best cardiac care close to home, including surgical care for the most serious and complex congenital heart defects. You will also benefit from the collaboration between our teams as we meet to discuss patient cases and share best practices.

 

Expert care for the tiniest hearts.

Through Akron Children’s fetal cardiology program, we diagnose heart defects in unborn children, so we can develop a treatment plan even before your baby is born.

One of the hallmarks of our Heart Center is hybrid care, which blends surgical and catheterization approaches to treat heart defects. With hybrid care, pediatric heart surgeons work with interventional cardiologists to repair certain types of heart defects in babies, who otherwise would have to wait until they're big enough to undergo open heart surgery. Less invasive procedures promote faster recoveries and may reduce the need for your child to undergo multiple heart surgeries. 

 

Pioneers in treating irregular heartbeats.

Akron Children’s has been at the forefront in the treatment of abnormal heart rhythms, including the development of a procedure to repair irregular heartbeats without the radiation that is commonly used in these procedures.

We were also the first pediatric hospital in Ohio to use cryoablation, a technique that uses low temperatures to successfully destroy abnormal electrical pathways in the heart to restore a normal rhythm.

 

High-quality cardiac imaging.

In recognition of our commitment to quality testing for the diagnosis of heart disease, we've been accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories in the areas of pediatric and fetal echocardiography.

 

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Our Doctors/Providers

Physicians/Providers:

Jessica Bivens, DO, MA

Pediatric Cardiologist

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J.R. Bockoven, MD

Associate Clinic Director; Director of Outreach Education, Cardiology; Pediatric Cardiologist

Accepting New Patients

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John Clark, MD, FAAP

Director, Pediatric Arrhythmia Center; Pediatric Cardiologist

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Brandon Jones

Pediatric Cardiologist

Accepting New Patients

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Nurse Practitioners/Physician Assistants:

Rachael Passodelis, MSN, APRN-CNP

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

https://www.akronchildrens.org/files/COVID-Inforgraphic.html

What Should Families Expect When They Come for an Appointment?

At Akron Children’s, your child’s health and safety is our priority. Please continue to bring your child for wellness visits, vaccinations or sick care appointments that keep children healthy. We want to assure you that we have taken additional precautions to ensure a safe environment for your child and family. The following are additional safety efforts, in addition to our normal cleaning protocols, that we are taking to help you be comfortable bringing your child to an appointment.

Limiting the Number of Caregivers and Face Covering

The number of caregivers permitted to accompany a child to an appointment is dependent on the department you are visiting. Everyone visiting an Akron Children's facility is asked to wear masks or face coverings, except for kids under 2 or those with sensory issues. Masks will be provided for visitors who do not bring their own.

Health Screening Station Ahead Sign

Checking In and Screening of Visitors

Akron Children's now offers Mobile Check-in to limit your exposure to others. You'll receive a text an hour before your child's appointment arrival time. Click the link in the text when you reach the Akron Children's facility for your child's appointment. You will receive a confirmation text that reminds you to wait in your car. Once we determine appropriate spacing is available inside the building, you'll receive a third text to let you know it's OK to come in for your appointment.

Immediately upon entering the building, your temperature will be taken, either by a thermal scanner or a greeter who will also ask you a few questions.

If you are in a waiting room, you’ll notice signs and a limited number of chairs. This is to remind our patients to keep 6 feet of physical distance between your family and others.

Precautions If You Suspect Your Child Has COVID-19

Call your child’s healthcare professional if your child is sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Your health care professional will work with Ohio’s public health department and the CDC to determine if your child needs to be tested for COVID-19.

View all the safety precautions Akron Children's is taking.

Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Center

In 2014, Akron Children’s Hospital and Cleveland Clinic signed an affiliation agreement that allowed our pediatric cardiovascular surgeons and adult congenital cardiologists to collaborate on patient cases, share best practices and combine outcome data. That affiliation agreement has been expanded to include both organizations’ pediatric and adult congenital heart programs, giving your family access to the very best pediatric cardiac care close to home, including surgical care for the most serious and complex congenital heart defects.

The program, known as the Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Center, brings together a combined 30 pediatric cardiologists and surgeons who specialize in children and adults with congenital heart disease. This includes specialists from clinical cardiology, imaging, interventional cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery.

Your family will benefit from the collaboration between our teams – one based at a health care system ranked No. 1 in the world for adult cardiac care and one based at a nationally ranked freestanding, independent children’s hospital. The entire team meets weekly to discuss cases, giving you access to a broader range of experience and expertise.

 

Living with congenital heart disease.

Congenital heart disease, a type of defect in one or more structures of the heart or blood vessels, occurs in eight out of every 1,000 births. They range from simple defects that require no treatment to those requiring multiple surgeries. Thanks to continued advances in fetal imaging and surgical interventions, more children born with congenital heart defects are not only surviving but thriving into adulthood.

If your child has a congenital heart defect, their needs are much different than those with heart disease associated with the aging process. The Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Center has the expertise to provide your child with lifelong care and follow-up, including special attention to even the most ordinary life events and medical procedures, such as pregnancy or a dental visit. The center offers comprehensive diagnostics, lifestyle counseling, medical management, and interventional and surgical treatment for the full spectrum of conditions related to congenital heart disease.

Your child may receive care at the location of your choice. Heart surgeries are performed at the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron campus and Cleveland Clinic’s main campus in downtown Cleveland. Clinics are offered as far south as Mansfield, as far north as Ashtabula, as far west as Norwalk and as far east as Youngstown, making affiliated pediatric cardiologists easily accessible to your family.