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University Children’s Health Congenital Heart Center
Outstanding Care Close to Home

Pediatric Heart Care Team

Experience some of the best pediatric patient heart outcomes in the nation at University Health Children’s Congenital Heart Center. Your child benefits from well-rounded care from a pediatric heart team and other pediatric specialists.

Pediatric Cardiologists

Board-certified pediatric cardiologists provide innovative heart care to your child with a family-centered approach. They are typically the first specialists to see after a referral from your primary care physician.

Our pediatric cardiologists draw upon their many years of experience treating congenital heart disease working closely with pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons, intensive care physicians, nurses and other pediatric specialists to best meet the needs of and develop a care plan for your child’s diagnosis.

Our cardiology team consists of five pediatric cardiologists who provide innovative clinical care with a family-centered approach.

  • Dr. Ginnie Abarbanell is the chief of pediatric cardiology at the Pediatric Heart Center in San Antonio. Her interests include quality improvement, cardio-neurodevelopment and fetal cardiology.
  • Dr. Elaine Maldonado-Campbell is the director of pediatric and fetal echocardiography Services at UT Health San Antonio. In addition, she holds the Dr. Colette Kohler endowed chair in pediatric cardiology.
  • Dr. Ashley Cooley is an assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio.
  • Dr. Eduardo Macias is an assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio.
  • Dr. Asad Qadir is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology at UT Health San Antonio.

Pediatric Heart Surgeons

Pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons at University Health are board certified in thoracic and congenital cardiac surgery. They repair and treat complex heart problems with surgery and work closely with the cardiac team including our pediatric cardiologists.

  • Dr. John H. Calhoon is professor and chair of cardiothoracic surgery at UT Health San Antonio, and holds the president’s council chair for excellence in surgery. He is a Harvard-trained pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon who has 30 years of experience. He is assisted by colleagues with a deep commitment to the Congenital Heart Program that have been a part of our team for decades. Dr. Calhoon is also the elected president of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
  • Dr. Aaron M. Abarbanell is an associate professor and chief of pediatric cardiac surgery at the Pediatric Heart Center. His patient care philosophy centers on serving patients and their families as if they were his own family. Dr. Abarbanell enjoys performing the full range of neonatal, pediatric and adult congenital heart surgeries.

Pediatric Interventional Cardiologist

Interventional cardiologists use state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose and treat conditions with minimally invasive procedures.

  • Dr. Asad Qadir is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology at UT Health San Antonio.

Pediatric Electrophysiologists

Your pediatric cardiologist may refer you to an electrophysiologist. An electrophysiologist diagnoses and treats heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias).

Pediatric Intensivists

A pediatric intensivist cares for seriously ill infants and children in the hospital or intensive care unit. Your intensivist will provide monitoring and care along with heart specialists throughout your child’s hospital stay.

Heart Health Support Team

Your child may also get care from the following pediatric providers:

  • Child Life specialist – Supports your hospitalized child’s physical and mental wellness. Care includes helping your child prepare for surgery and managing pain and anxiety. Your family may meet with our specialist for moral support and encouragement.
  • Clinical dietitian – Works with you to manage nutritional needs with the goal of improving your child’s health.
  • Complex care coordinator – Helps your family transition from the hospital to home
  • Registered nurse – Highly specialized cardiac trained RNs provides direct 24-hour care, support and education
  • Social worker – Helps your family cope with your child’s illness and hospitalization  
  • Anesthesiologist – Dedicated pediatric cardiac anesthesia team, fellowship-trained and/or double board certified. Ensures your child’s safety and comfort before, during and after surgery. Care includes giving pain medications, evaluating and monitoring your child.  
  • Registered respiratory therapist – Provides respiratory care needs.
  • Advanced practice providers – A nurse practitioner or physician assistant who may diagnose your child, perform examinations, order tests and prescribe medications.
  • Speech language pathologist – Helps children with speech or language disorders, and with trouble swallowing and eating.
  • Occupational therapist – Helps children re-learn how to do daily tasks like brushing their teeth or holding a pencil.
  • Physical therapist – Helps children improve their body's function and motion through stretching and exercises.
  • Critical care specialist in NICU and PCCU – Monitors your child while they are recovering from surgery.
  • Perfusionists – Manages your child's heart-lung machine during open-heart surgery to keep blood flowing through the body.
  • ECMO specialist – Assists the perfusionist by managing the ECMO process.
  • Pharmacists – Dispenses necessary medications to treat or manage your child's heart condition.
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