Cardiology
Appointments: (504) 896-9751
Office Hours:
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Physicians:
Robert Ascuitto, PhD, MD, Director of Cardiology
Nancy Ross-Ascuitto, MD, Director of Pediatric
Kelly Gajewski, MD
Christian Lilje, MD
Steffan Sernich, MD
Ernest Siwik, MD
Aluizio Stopa, MD

Learn more about:
The Heart Center at Children's Hospital
Cardiothoracic Surgery

Children’s Hospital’s Heart Center is recognized nationally as a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, from fetus to adult, with congenital cardiovascular disorders. Our accomplished and dedicated team of specialists includes physicians and surgeons, nurses and support staff who are trained to care for the unique needs of children whose levels of care range from basic to highly critical. The Cardiology Department provides inpatient and outpatient evaluation of children with suspected or known heart conditions. Complete diagnostic and treatment facilities are available, including EKG and echocardiogram. Exercise testing, ultrasound examinations and special laboratory testing (including cholesterol and triglyceride levels) are also available.

Cardiac Catheterization
Advanced, invasive diagnostic and interventional procedures are performed in the state-of-the-art, all-digital Solon B. Turman Cardiovascular Biplane Catheterization Laboratory. Our cardiologists specialize in a wide range of diagnostic and interventional procedures. Over 50 percent of current cardiac catheterizations are interventional and include atrial septostomy, balloon valvuloplasty/angioplasty, vessel stenting and coil occlusion, as well as using devices to close PDAs and ASD/PFOs. Advanced equipment, such as biplane X-ray, and expert staff ensure the safety of our patients and accuracy of their treatment.

Non-invasive imaging
More than 4,000 echocardiograms are performed each year at Children's Hospital. One highlight of our program is the burgeoning Fetal Cardiology Clinic for new mothers with family or personal histories of cardiac defects, rhythm disturbances or other abnormal findings detected by their obstetrician/ gynecologist. Detailed histories, echocardiograms and consultations help diagnose abnormalities in utero and, if necessary, prepare cardiac specialists for immediate response upon delivery. Both pre-and post-operative transesophageal echocardiograms are completed on each surgical patient with an intracardiac defect to ensure the defect has been corrected and cardiac function has been restored. The Heart Center houses a state-of-the-art, digital echocardiography lab, complete with the latest 3-D echocardiography technology. Other widely used non-invasive diagnostic services include cardiac MRI 3-D imaging technology and reconstruction, electrocardiograms (EKGs), chest X-rays, stress tests, tilt table tests, Holter and event monitoring.

Maternal-Fetal Cardiology
This program has been designed to provide an optimal hospital environment and the specialized medical care required to treat pregnant women with congenital heart disease and/or women carrying a fetus with heart disorder. Our program is aligned with local and regional physicians. Focus in on early diagnosis of fetal heart disease, in the setting of a family history of congenital heart disease and environment and/or maternal risk factors associated with fetal heart disease. A multi-disciplinary team is composed of perinatologists, cardiolgists, neonatolgists, congenital heart surgeons and specialized nurses highly-skilled in the management and treatment of women and/or their babies with heart conditions. State-of-the-art ultrasound equipment is used to identify fetal cardiac abnormalities as early as 14 weeks gestation. The overall goal of the program is to offer the best possible service to a mother and/or fetus with cardiac abnormality, during pregnancy, labor and following delivery.

Adults with Congenital Heart Disease
This program provides diagnosis with diagnosis and follow-up care, including therapeutic and interventional options, for older patients with congenital heart disorders. Teens and adults with heart disease, both before and following surgery, have unique problems, including residual hemodynamic abnormalities, cardiac rhythm disturbances, and risks for sudden death. A team of highly qualified physicians and surgeons work closely together to treat these patients, as their needs change throughout life.

Management expertise includes, but is not limited to: Surgical and non-surgical treatment of heart defects Assessment of congenital and acquired heart disease Fetal echocardiography The Cardiology Department is located in the Ambulatory Care Center at Children’s Hospital.

Robert Ascuitto, PhD, MD
Pediatric Cardiologist, Director of Cardiology, Children’s Hospital Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

Professional School:
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Specialty Training:
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
Nancy Ross-Ascuitto, MD
Pediatric Cardiologist, Director of Pediatric Cardiology Training Program, Children’s Hospital Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

Professional School:
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Specialty Training:
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Kelly Gajewski, MD
Director of Electrophysiology Lab and Electrophysiology, Children's Hospital
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

Medical School:
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Specialty Training:
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

Christian Lilje, MD
Pediatric Cardiologist, Children's Hospital
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

Professional School:
University of Freiburg, Germany

Specialty Training:
University of Hamburg, Germany; Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans

Special Interests:
Noninvasive imaging, perinatal cardiology, heart failure

In Area Since: 2003
In Practice Since: 1993
Steffan Sernich, MD
Pediatric Cardiologist, Director of non-invasive lab, Children’s Hospital Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans
 
Professional School: 
Universidad El Bosque, Escuela Colombiana de Medicina, Bogota, Columbia

Specialty Training: 
Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans; Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans

Special Interests:
Two-dimensional and three-dimensional echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, critical care of children after heart surgery

Ernest Siwik, MD
Director of Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Interventional Cardiology, Children's Hospital
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

Medical Training:
Wayne State University, Detroit

Specialty Training:
Brown University Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI; Case Western Reserve University, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland; Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; Harvard University Children's Hospital, Boston
Aluizio Stopa, MD
Pediatric Cardiologist, and Director of oupatient clinics, Children's Hospital
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

Professional School:
Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil
 
Specialty Training:
Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati

Special Interests:
Heart disease

   

 

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