KU Med, Cotton-O'Neil Bring Pediatric Cardiology Closer to Home

Eutoica Calhoun is grateful for each calmer day with five-month old Myka after a whirlwind start to her life.

At Myka's one-week appointment, Eutoica says the doctor heard a murmur, a little flutter in her heart. At first tests showed everything was okay, but, by three weeks, Myka wasnt gaining weight.

The doctor had Eutoica keep a food log. Thru a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Myka had five to eight ounces a day, when she was supposed to be having 24 ounces. Eutoica says she was nursing, so didn't realize she wasn't getting so much.

The doctor was concerned enough, he wanted a cardiologist to see Myka. It happened to be the day pediatric cardiologist Dr. Anitha Parthiban from KU Medical Center was doing her weekly clinic at the Cotton-O'Neil Heart Center. She squeezed Myka in for an EKG. It was a good thing, because the news wasn't good.

Dr. Parthiban discovered Myka had three holes in her heart. She was immediately admitted to the hospital. Within days, she underwent surgery in Kansas City.

Eutoica says she knew God would take care of Myka, but still feared losing her child.

Myka came thru surgery with flying colors, but, like many young heart patients, required close follow up. Dr. Parthiban saw Myka every two weeks to make sure she was gaining weight and to adjust her medications. Now that Myka's more stable, the visits are down to every few months. Eventually, she may only have to go once a year.

That close follow up is why KU Med partners with Cotton-O'Neil. The once a week clinics in Topeka bring a pediatric cardiologist closer to where the patients are, so they're not constantly making the longer trip to Kansas City. Dr. Parthiban says making sure those check-ups are done is important so doctors can spot a problem before symptoms develop. Dr. Parthiban says the only reason families would have to travel now is for more invasive tests or surgery.

Myka may need a follow-up surgery in a few years, but otherwise she's doing fine.

KU Med does similar outreach clinics in Salina, Hays and Pittsburg.