Dr. Brian Kogon to Co-Direct New Emory, CHOA Comprehensive Congenital Heart Center

March 2014

Under the newly formed Congenital Heart Center of Georgia (CHCG), launched by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) and Emory Healthcare, the cardiac team at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center will collaborate with Emory's Adult Congenital Heart Center team to assist their patients with congenital heart defects (CHD) in making seamless transitions from pediatric to adult care. As one of the largest programs of its type in the United States and the first in Georgia, the CHCG will be a comprehensive service for children and adults with CHD that provides a continuum of lifesaving care from before birth through adulthood.

The CHCG will be co-directed by Dr. Brian Kogon, surgical director of Emory's Adult Congenital Heart Center (ACHC); cardiologist Dr. Wendy Book, medical director of the ACHC; and Dr. Robert Campbell, chief of cardiac services, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center (SHC). Dr. Kogon has led the surgical arm of the ACHC since 2005, and is nationally recognized as a leading authority on pediatric and adult congenital heart disease. In 2012, he was a member of the multi-disciplinary team that performed patient Stephanie Lindstrom's triple organ transplant, a first for the state of Georgia, and performed the heart transplant portion of the multiple procedure with his Emory colleague Dr. David Vega.

While little research has been done to quantify the problem in the U.S., studies have shown that approximately 40 percent of CHD patients in Canada and Europe stop seeing heart specialists between the ages of 13 and 21 years old. It is suspected that the same problem exists in the states. Specialists suspect that many former patients are lulled into complacency by the lessening of childhood symptoms that comes from competent pediatric care, and wrongly assume that their condition has been cured. In fact, current guidelines recommend lifelong care and observation for these patients.

The cooperation of the Emory Healthcare and CHOA services under the banner of CHCG will allow patients to be closely tracked throughout the course of their lives, regardless of age or pediatric versus adult status. CHCG also plans to educate patients about the importance of consistent monitoring and continued care so that they may live longer, more productive, and healthier lives.

"With a system like this in place, the left hand will know what the right hand is doing and we won't lose track of people," says Dr. Kogon. "At all stages of a patient's life and condition, we will be able to offer the latest treatments and access to the most progressive clinical trials."