UK HealthCast: Dr. Majd Makhoul and Dr. Joshua Hayman on KCH, King's Daughters pediatric heart care partnership

Drs. Majd Makhoul and Joshua Hayman

UK HealthCast is a podcast series featuring interviews with UK HealthCare experts on a variety of health-related topics, from how to recognize stroke symptoms to what patients need to know about clinical trials and more.

Dr. Majd Makhoul, Director of the Fetal Cardiovascular Program at Kentucky Children's Hospital; and Dr. Joshua Hayman, a pediatric cardiologist at Kentucky Children's Hospital, discuss Kentucky Children's Hospital's partnership with King's Daughters Medical Center to bring nationally ranked pediatric heart care to Ashland, Kentucky.

Listen to the full podcast at the bottom of the page.

Kentucky Children's Hospital is partnering with King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland to bring nationally ranked pediatric heart care to Ashland. Why this relationship is so important?

Dr. Joshua Hayman: Part of our mission as part of Kentucky Children's Hospital is to provide world-class healthcare to as many children within the Commonwealth as we can. By increasing our presence in Eastern Kentucky, we hope to bring again that kind of nationally ranked, world quality healthcare to children in Eastern Kentucky, including areas like Ashland and the surrounding tri-state area.

Kentucky Children's Hospital is ranked as the 15th best hospital in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery. What does this nationally ranked care mean for the children and families of Kentucky, specifically to those in Ashland who can now have access closer to home? 

Dr. Mahjd Makhoul: We’ve been partnering with Cincinnati Children's Hospital for the last several years, and the US News organization has recognized our excellent partnership where we combine our expertise in all the subspecialties of pediatric cardiology and ranked us number 15 in the nation. 

We all know some of our families in the Commonwealth have some difficulties getting to Lexington. But now, with our team being physically in Ashland once a week, every month, and on top of that, available 24 hours, seven days a week as a consulting service for all the providers in the area, we can easily provide this high class and top ranked patient care to those families without them having to worry about the burden of travel and the commute.

What services can people expect out of this location?

Dr. Joshua Hayman: We offer a variety of services, all relating to pediatric cardiology. We basically specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital and acquired heart disease in pediatric patients. Specifically, that can range from structural problems, functional problems or electrical. We offer a variety of services, including echocardiograms, which are ultrasounds of the heart, where we can examine a child's heart structure and function. We offer and perform EKGs, which is a test we use to look at the electrical system within the heart and can diagnose certain types of arrhythmias. 

Additionally, we also have variety of services and support that we get through other sub-specialists in Lexington, including electrophysiology or dealing with heart arrhythmias, as well as interventional and surgical cardiology — where we can correct congenital and structural problems within the heart. 

Dr. Makhoul also specializes in fetal cardiology – the diagnosis and management of congenital heart disease even before a child is born. And that's one of the services we'll be offering in Ashland as well.

Dr. Mahjd Makhoul: In regards to my area of expertise, which is the fetal echocardiogram or the ultrasound of the baby's heart before the baby is born, we actually partner with a very successful OB practice in Ashland as well as our own UK high-risk OB team, called the maternal-fetal medicine team, who also provide telemedicine counsel for those patients. 

With that collaboration, we can diagnose the majority of the heart defects in those babies before they're born, as Dr. Hayman was alluding to. 

Advanced technology, [like] telemedicine…helps us actually offer this type of service for patients without them having to worry about traveling or being away from home. 

What will happen if patients need additional testing or surgeries?

Dr. Mahjd Makhoul: We want to provide the best service possible for patients without them having to travel. But occasionally, we make diagnoses that either require further evaluation, like Dr. Hayman mentioned, the studies done in the cath lab including either diagnostic or interventional procedures. Those are occasionally needed to help complete the picture and make the best decision for those patients, and occasionally also intervene and fix some of those problems without having to do any surgeries. That's something that we often have to bring the patient over to Lexington for.

The other possibility is if the patient requires heart surgery, either on urgent or non-urgent basis. The patients will be transferred over to the hospital for the urgent ones and will be arranged to come as an outpatient for the non-urgent heart surgeries, which can be completed here in Lexington for those patients. 

Are there additional resources that you're excited about?

Dr. Joshua Hayman: It's always nice to have a new population of patients to be able to work with. We're very excited about the facilities we have at King's Daughters, where we have a full clinic with seven or eight exam rooms. We're able to provide full echocardiographic services like we would in Lexington as well as EKGs. So basically, it's not any different than being away from Lexington, but we can provide that care closer to our patients' homes and hopefully make it a little bit easier on them to get around and get around to see us.

Can you tell us more about how this partnership came to be? 

Dr. Mahjd Makhoul:  I've been at University of Kentucky now for a little over eight years. When I first came here, we were at a kind of a decision point, if you will. We wanted to provide the best care we can for the patients of the Commonwealth. And we were looking for a partnership where we can complement the expertise that we have and continue to grow the program here.

And when we looked around us, we couldn't find any better partners than Cincinnati Children's, which are very well-known with the excellent history of providing excellent care in the domain that we're all involved in, which is pediatric cardiology. 

The vision – and what we've been doing for this partnership – is that no matter where the patient is, UK [or] Cincinnati, they will get the same excellent care. And the mutual decision-making process is very deep and well-planned. So, for example, if a patient requires an intervention, either a heart surgery or interventional cath or something like that, teams from both sides will be discussing that specific patient regardless of where that patient is being seen. And the decision will be made mutually with all the experts in the room…together…with one goal in mind, which is what's the best option for that patient. 

We're very excited about this partnership…And we're excited to expand our services to the patients in the Ashland area. And we appreciate the opportunity that partnership with a King's Daughter system is offering us so we can be there for those patients and families when they need us and bring them best care in our domain that we can. 

This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.

Topics in this Story

    Children-Heart Health-Our People