The Children’s Heart Foundation funds more than $1 million of new congenital heart defect research

To date, the foundation has funded $15 million of research into congenital heart defects—America’s most common birth defect.

Dec. 28, 2021 –  The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF), the nation’s leading organization dedicated to funding congenital heart defect (CHD) research, will fund over $1,000,000 of research and scientific collaborations in 2021.

Every 15 minutes in the United States, a baby is born with a congenital heart defect, making CHDs the nation’s most common birth defect. The Children’s Heart Foundation’s mission is to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CHDs by funding the most promising research.

This year’s funding spans four initiatives: 1. independent research funded by CHF and the Cortney Barnett Research Award, 2. collaborative research with the American Heart Association (AHA) through the AHA/CHF Congenital Heart Defect Research Awards, 3. funding the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Pediatric Cardiology Research Fellowship Award, and 4. funding of Cardiac Networks United (CNU), a national pediatric and congenital cardiovascular research network.

The researcher receiving the Cortney Barnett Research Award through The Children’s Heart Foundation is Eduardo Divo, PhD, MS, BS, (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL) for his work on the “Investigation of an Injection-Jet Self-Powered Fontan Circulation: A Novel Bridge and Destination Therapy for the Failing Fontan”. Funding for this project was generously provided by the Cortney Barnett Research Fund, which is intended to support research that seeks to prolong longevity and improve quality of life in patients who have undergone the Fontan procedure. 

Shabnam Peyvandi, MD, MAS, (University of California San Francisco) will also receive funding from The Children’s Heart Foundation for her work on “Early brain networks that predict school-age neurodevelopmental outcomes in critical congenital heart disease”. The findings of this study will set the stage for future validation studies to confirm these predictive models, which will be crucial for neuroprotective clinical trials in this patient population.

These research efforts will help experts learn more about the life-long care needs of babies born with, and adolescents and adults living with CHDs, and how to improve their overall quality of life.

The Children’s Heart Foundation provides funding annually to Cardiac Networks United to improve outcomes for children with CHDs. Some of CNU and their partner networks’ current efforts include optimizing Fontan care across the lifespan, cardiac arrest prevention, and standardizing post-operative recovery. 

"We’re so proud to be funding over $1 million of CHD research this year with the help of our generous supporters,” said Gail Roddie-Hamlin, President & CEO of The Children’s Heart Foundation. “It’s such an incredible way to close out our 25th anniversary year and we look forward to seeing how this research helps save and improve lives.”

Since 1996, CHF has funded $15 million of CHD research and scientific collaborations, leading to dramatic increases in survival, longevity, and quality of life for individuals living with CHDs.