berlin heart storyAbout Us: The Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Fellowship program is dedicated to educating future cardiac intensivists in the independent management and care of pediatric patients with congenital and acquired heart disease. We accept two fellows per year, who have completed a fellowship in pediatric critical care, pediatric cardiology, or neonatology.

Our Cardiovascular Intensive Care unit is a twenty bed unit with ~ 600 medical and surgical admissions per year. As the only Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Center in the State of Alabama, the fellow is exposed to a wide-breath of both acute and chronic congenital and acquired heart disease in children and young adults. This exposure includes pre- and postoperative care of neonates and children with congenital heart disease, medical management of patients with heart failure and arrhythmias, ventricular assist devices, ECMO, and heart transplantation.

Our Cardiac Critical Care program is a collaborative effort between the Divisions of Pediatric Critical Care, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, Pediatric Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology, and Pediatric Neonatology. This one year Fellowship is uniquely designed to provide training based on the candidate’s previous clinical experience and would focus on developing clinical skills and knowledge specifically in Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care. The candidate would also participate in research with opportunities available in both clinical and basic science research.

Please feel free to call us with any additional questions.

Division Research:
Our research is multidisciplinary and an integral part of our division. All faculty are involved in clinical and translational research at some level with fellow participation. It is our goal for each fellow to complete one research project and participate in at least one conference during fellowship. The cardiac critical care medicine section gave 18 poster presentations and five oral presentations at international scientific conferences and we won three abstract awards. Presented was the first-ever research study utilizing the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) database. In multi-center collaborations, the research team worked with 13 other academic institutions on five research studies The team had 10 studies published or accepted for publication in peer reviewed scientific journals and conducted six prospective clinical studies, including two intervention trials to investigate the impact of intravenous immunoglobulin or hydrocortisone on outcomes after heart surgery in neonates and infants.

Novel or important research reported in 2014 included a number of firsts in the nation:

  • How low gamma globulin levels impact newborn heart surgery patients
  • Hemolysis associated acute kidney injury in children receiving extracorporeal support
  • Epidemiology of Lung Injury in Children with Congenital Heart Disease
  • How a heart-lung bypass may induce adrenal gland insufficiency
  • How feeding before surgery may improve the outcome for children with the severe birth defect, hypoplastic left heart syndrome (PCICS Oral Abstract award winner 2014)
  • How a central venous line into the upper body can be a risk factor after surgery for lymph fluid leaking into the lung cavity
  • Developing a new protocol — based solely on monitoring heparin levels with anti Xa monitoring — on ECMO
  • How a heart-lung bypass and other extracorporeal support impacts microcirculation in critically ill children
  • Using balloon angioplasty (a balloon inflated inside an artery to open it up) to treat persistent leaking of lymph fluid into the lung cavity after surgery
  • How a heart-lung bypass for a newborn impacts the microbial makeup in the digestive tract (the gastrointestinal microbiome)
  • Prophylactic PD in high risk neonates
  • Prophylactic hydrocortisone infusion in neonates after cardiopulmonary bypass (PCICS Oral Abstract award winner 2015

Our Team

Jeffrey Alten, M.D. 
Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Director

Leslie Rhodes, M.D.
Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Fellowship Director

LaTanya Brown
Fellowship Coordinator

Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Fellows

Ashima Das, M.D.                              
First Year        
Residency: Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami

Jason Turner, M.D.                             
First Year        
Residency: Louisiana State University, New Orleans