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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Pediatric Firsts at the Forefront: A Decade of Pioneering Care at Comer Children's

Building on the long tradition of excellence in pediatric care at the University of Chicago Medicine, Comer Children's physicians, surgeons and medical staff have set new standards of care for kids over the past 10 years.

December 2005: First trans-catheter pulmonary-valve replacement in the United States

Justin Reaves desperately needed a new heart valve, but scar tissue from previous operations ruled out the possibility of open surgery. Our surgeons implanted a replacement valve through a catheter inserted into his groin then threaded it up into his heart, giving the 16-year-old a new lease on life.

March 2006: Youngest beneficiary of innovative "Nuss" procedure

A deformity was constricting a toddler's lung capacity, putting pressure on his heart and leaving him short of breath. To correct the condition, a surgical team at Comer Children's implanted a curved steel bar into the 17-month-old's rib cage.

February 2008: World's first pediatric robotic bladder reconstruction

When 10-year-old Aaliyah Dellar needed surgery to rebuild her severely undersized bladder, surgeons used robotic tools -- performing the operation through five dime-sized incisions. This approach minimized scarring, accelerated recovery time and lowered the risk of infection when compared to a traditional, open procedure. 

August 2012: Youngest patient to receive Fecal Microbiota Therapy (FMT)

Grant Fisher had been battling drug-resistant Clostridium difficile for months when physicians at Comer Children's "transplanted" microbes from Grant's mother into the little boy's colon. After the procedure, 18-month-old Grant rapidly recovered from the potentially deadly infection.

November 2012: First haplo-cord stem cell transplant

To extend the pool of patients who qualify for potentially lifesaving stem cell transplantation, our physician-scientists refined purification techniques that allow cells from a half-matched donor (such as a parent) to be combined with umbilical cord blood from a well-matched, but unrelated donor. In 2011, Comer Children's became the first children's hospital in the nation to offer the procedure.

April 2014: First child in Illinois to receive MIBG therapy

After surgery, chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant all failed to get Sammy Nahorny into remission, the 6-year-old received an innovative treatment for neuroblastoma. Sammy was isolated in a lead-lined room while a team administered intensive MIBG therapy, which destroys tumor cells while leaving healthy tissue intact. Sammy's care was featured in the Chicago Tribune.

Other Firsts in Kid's Care

The state-of-the-art Comer Children's opened in 2005. However, the University of Chicago Medicine's history of spearheading breakthroughs and providing compassionate care for infants, children and teens dates back to the late 1800s.