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Congenital Heart Disease Expert Evan Zahn, MD, Joins Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute

New Congenital Heart Disease Program to offer lifelong treatment and nonsurgical options to patients with structural heart problems

Los Angeles – Aug. 1, 2012Evan Zahn, MD, an expert in treating children born with life-threatening structural heart problems, has joined the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute to advance the study of congenital heart disease and develop more minimally invasive treatments.

As director of pediatric cardiology at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and director of the Congenital Heart Disease Program, Zahn will continue to diagnose and treat children born with heart defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome and tetralogy of Fallot.  Zahn also will be establishing a program aimed at treating adult patients with congenital heart issues.

“Dr. Zahn joining our faculty means that we can serve patients from birth to old age and provide them with the best leading-edge treatment options available,” said Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the Mark S. Siegel Family Professor.  “Many of these patients were not expected to live beyond childhood but advances in cardiology mean some congenital conditions can be successfully treated and lives extended into healthy adulthood.”

Zahn joins Cedars-Sinai after serving as Chief of Cardiology at Miami Children's Hospital.  A recognized international authority on minimally invasive techniques to repair structural disorders, Zahn also directed the hospital’s Interventional Catheterization Program and performed the world’s first nonsurgical tricuspid valve replacement via catheter on a nine-year-old boy.

“Cedars-Sinai is the nation’s leader in minimally invasive heart valve therapy and we can now bring that level of care and expertise to children and young adults born with structural heart disease,” Zahn said, noting that in the area of Interventional Cardiology, directed by Raj Makkar, MD, Cedars-Sinai physicians have completed more minimally invasive heart valve repair and replacement procedures than any other medical center.

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. The lack of blood flow causes valves that are too small or unformed. Babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome also often have a hole between the heart’s left and right upper chambers. Tetralogy of Fallot is a rare condition caused by a combination of four structural heart defects that prevents sufficient oxygen from reaching the blood. Infants and children with that condition usually have blue-tinged skin because of that oxygen deficiency. Those born with structural heart defects often face multiple surgeries throughout their lives.  
“You see these kids every day in the supermarket or on the ball field.  They are doing great but they need expert care for the rest of their lives,” Zahn said.  “That is why it has been so important to develop minimally invasive ways to help these patients.  Our goal is to give them a future that doesn’t include open heart surgeries for every stage of their lives.”

Zahn received a bachelor’s degree in biology at the State University of New York at Albany before earning his medical degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla.  He completed his pediatric training at the University of Colorado’s Affiliated Hospitals in Denver and is board certified in pediatric cardiology from the American Board of Pediatrics.  Zahn is a Fellow in the American College of Cardiology and the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Intervention.  He has written reports on dozens of studies for peer-reviewed medical journals, including the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Circulation and Pediatric Cardiology.  

About the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute
The Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute is internationally recognized for outstanding heart care built on decades of innovation and leading-edge research. From cardiac imaging and advanced diagnostics to surgical repair of complex heart problems to the training of the heart specialists of tomorrow and research that is deepening medical knowledge and practice, the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute is known around the world for excellence and innovations.