Britton C. Keeshan MD, MPH, is a pediatric cardiologist who treats congenital heart disease in adults and children and says he is constantly inspired by his patients.
“Some of the children we treat have been through so much, maybe three or even four congenital heart surgeries. They’ve spent significant periods of their lives in the hospital,” Dr. Keeshan says. “They are some of the most resilient, special kids you’ll ever meet.”
Dr. Keeshan specializes in diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterization, which involves inserting a thin, flexible tube (called a catheter) into a blood vessel (typically in the leg) and threading it up to the heart. Doctors can then perform imaging tests and certain procedures in a minimally invasive way (meaning without the need for traditional open surgery).
“We can get our catheters to various positions in the heart and do things as simple as measuring pressure and oxygen saturation or thread a small ultrasound probe,” Dr. Keeshan says. “We can actually take pictures of a person’s heart defect from within the heart itself.”
The advances in his field have been immense and continue at an exciting rate, he says. “If you asked someone who performed catheterization 20 years ago where we’d be today, they’d be incredibly impressed with the technology,” he says. “Now, we’re performing advanced surgical techniques on newborns, and they are living well into adulthood.”
Dr. Keeshan is an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine.