The Children's Heart Center Linz opened its doors over 25 years ago in 1995.
Over the years, the center has made a name for itself in Austria and beyond on account of its outstanding medical expertise. A conference featuring highly respected and distinguished guest speakers is currently being held to observe the center’s 25th anniversary.
Over 180 experts from all over Europe as well as overseas are meeting in Linz to discuss and address various aspects in the fields of pediatric cardiac surgery, pediatric cardiology, and prenatal medicine. Other conference participants will attend the conference online via a livestream. The main focus will address treating hypoplastic left heart syndrome, complex angiographic imaging of an infant heart, and cardiac operations in unborn children.
Deputy Governor and State Health Minister Mag. Christine Haberlander spoke on behalf of many well-wishers and remarked: "For the past quarter of a century, the Children's Heart Center in Linz has stood for internationally visible, cutting-edge medicine in the field of heart-related issues that affect children. The Center currently treats approximately 7,000 young patients. As Upper Austria's Health Minister, I am so proud of the Center’s pioneering role and extremely pleased that we have this kind of cutting-edge medicine right here in Linz."
Heart surgeon Priv. Doz. Dr. Rudolf Mair and pediatric cardiologist Prim. Prof. Dr. Gerald Tulzer emphasized: "Thanks to our teams’ expertise, we are in a position to provide outstanding patient care. On a comparatively international level, we are positioned extremely well and this is reflected in the interest to attend our conference. We will host guest speakers from Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Croatia, Canada and the USA, giving us an opportunity to talk about and discuss the most recent medical developments right here in Linz. Many of these advancements are related directly to our Children's Heart Center and we are, of course, particularly proud."
Eva Sames-Dolzer, deputy head of the Department of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and speaker commented: "We are pleased to welcome particularly distinguished guests and guest speakers, some of who are among the world's best in their field. It is very rare to meet all of these prominent experts together at one conference, listen to their presentations, and speak personally with them. This is not only an honor just for Linz, but for Austria as a whole as well."
Medical Director Priv.-Doz. Dr. Karl Heinz Stadlbauer extended his congratulations on organizing a high-profile conference and is impressed with advancements in treating children with heart disease: "Different teams are very well coordinated and when it comes to our young patients, this helps us provide high quality, advanced care. I would like to congratulate everyone involved, especially those who have played a part in making the Center a globally respected center of expertise for children's hearts. We will continue to pursue advancements and hone our expertise to continue living up to our pioneering role."
CEO Mag. Franz Harnoncourt spoke about the way the Children's Heart Center has grown and the successful conference: "Performing cardiac surgery in young children is very complex and requires almost unfathomable medical experience and expertise. Here in Linz, procedures that were considered almost impossible 25 years ago are now routine. Thanks to interdisciplinary collaboration and the way everyone across disciplines comes, the Children's Heart Center now offers world-renowned, cutting-edge medicine, underscoring the importance of the Kepler University Hospital when it comes to pediatric medicine. The smallest patients in particular need specialists and others from various professions to come together and provide modern treatment and therapies. The Children's Heart Center at Kepler University Hospital is an extraordinary example of pooling expertise so that patients – ranging from the unborn to adolescents – can access some of the most high-quality medical care in the world. I would like to congratulate everyone on this trailblazing role in medicine to treat children who suffer from heart disease. Pediatric care is an important area of focus at the Kepler University Hospital."
Univ. Prof. Dr. Meinhard Lukas, Rector of Johannes Kepler University Linz, added: "The Children's Heart Center Linz is a success story that greatly impacts those affected, which includes both children and their parents. This stroke of luck in pediatric care goes back to fully understanding that close interdisciplinary collaboration is key. In addition, those involved are skilled experts that support teamwork and possess strong communication skills. By creating the chair for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, pediatric cardiac surgery is also an area of focus at the university. I would like to congratulate the Children's Heart Center on its anniversary and thank everyone involved for their unwavering commitment. At the same time, I strongly believe that the Children's Heart Center will continue to grow and expand in its outstanding reputation, continuing its invaluable work to support the wellbeing of young patients."
The center’s importance and international reputation were reflected in the number of participants that took part in the anniversary ceremony. Prominent government and state officials congratulated the two "founding fathers" and conference organizers, Prim. Priv.-Doz. Dr. Rudolf Mair and Prim. Prof. Dr. Gerald Tulzer.
A Brief Chronology of the Children's Heart Center
- The beginning: The former State Women's and Children's Hospital was experiencing an increase in the numbers of newborns and children requiring cardiac treatment but had no cardiology facilities for heart surgery. The former AKH hospital in Linz had a very active cardiac surgery department which was more focused on treating acquired heart diseases.
- 1993: A separate department for pediatric cardiology was established in lieu of the high numbers of patients.
- 1995: The pediatric cardiac surgery program begins and the Children's Heart Center Linz is officially established.
- 1997: A newborn with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome was successfully operated on for the first time in Austria.
- Beginning in 2000, doctors established a fetal intervention program in cooperation with the Department of Prenatal Medicine; it is now the largest in Europe.
- 2003: Partnership agreement between the state of Upper Austria and the city of Linz: Legal confirmation of the Children's Heart Center.
- 2011: The Department of Pediatric Cardiology is elevated to a department.
- 2016: Pediatric cardiac surgery is made a department in its own right.