Walker to Sign Proclamation Recognizing Valentine's Day as Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Day in Utah

Walker to Sign Proclamation Recognizing Valentine's Day as Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Day in Utah

Feb 12, 2004 5:00 PM

Valentine's Day long has celebrated matters of the heart--but this year that takes a new slant when the holiday of romance becomes Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Day.

To make it official, Gov. Olene Walker will sign a proclamation recognizing the day dedicated to raising awareness of congenital heart defects--which is the most common birth defect in the United States.

In a late valentine of sorts, Walker will sign the proclamation Tuesday at 11:15 in the Capitol, where she'll be joined by people with congenital heart defects, their families, and health care providers from the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at the University of Utah. The clinic, established in 1987, was the first in the Intermountain West set up specifically to care for adults with congenital heart defects--which occurs once in every 100 births.

"Many of those born with congenital heart defects didn't used to live into adulthood," said cardiologist W. Marcus Brann, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine and medical director of the U of U clinic. "Medical advances now allow many of those patients to live much longer and have productive lives, but that also means they need ongoing care."

As these patients live longer, the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program is becoming increasingly important in delivering medical care. The clinic provides general cardiology care, as well as family planning counseling and care of pregnant women with congenital heart problems.

Along with Brann, the clinic team includes Victoria E. Judd, M.D., professor of cardiology and pediatric cardiology specialist; Kevin J. Whitehead, M.D., adjunct instructor of cardiology; Juli Jerman, R.N., nurse coordinator; and DeeAnn Holbrook, clinic coordinator.

The clinic team works closely with the U School of Medicine's Pediatric Cardiology Division at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

To schedule an appointment at the clinic, call 801-581-7716, or toll free, 1-800-846-9145.

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