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The Catalyst

MUSC Children's Hospital retains U.S. News & World Report status

Annual report rankings cite excellence in cardiology, nephrology programs

Staff Report

Demarco Brayboy jokes around as MUSC Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. David Sas performs an examination on him in 2013. Brayboy has pediatric ESRD (end-stage renal disease) and is awaiting a kidney transplant. photo by Sarah Pack, Public Relations

MUSC Children’s Hospital has again been ranked as a “best hospital” for children’s heart and nephrology programs in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 edition of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals, published online at

Last year, the Children’s Hospital performed 450 heart surgery cases. “Our pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery program remains a premier program, now supported by a hybrid cardiac cath lab, in which both an interventional and a surgical procedure can be performed in the same setting,” said Rita Ryan, M.D., Department of Pediatrics chairwoman. “The development of our pediatric heart failure, ventricular–assist device and heart transplant programs are rapidly growing and providing the latest technology for some of our most fragile patients.”  

 The Children’s Heart Center supports family–centered comprehensive care enhanced by one of the country’s only dedicated pediatric cardiac intensive care units, designed for the critical care of all pediatric cardiac cases. A multidisciplinary nursing team with expertise in caring for children with heart defects minimizes discomfort and stress for every patient. Other family support services such as child–life specialists further enhance the patient’s experience. This team approach is also reflected in the statewide network of pediatric cardiologists and two pediatric cardiac surgeons in Charleston providing coordinated care unique to South Carolina through the Children’s Heart Program of South Carolina. While ongoing cardiac care is delivered throughout the state, all surgical and catheterization procedures are performed at MUSC.

The eighth annual rankings highlight the top 50 U.S. hospitals in each of 10 pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology & GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. In the 2014–15 rankings, 89 hospitals ranked in at least one of the 10 specialties. MUSC Children’s Hospital also ranked this year for nephrology.

Radiation tech Lauren Jones, left, monitors baby Adam Mereby while Dr. Nicole Cain, center, checks on him after he had a Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor implanted March 21. Nurse anesthetist Kyle Comley is at right. photo by Sarah Pack, Public Relations

“Our pediatric nephrology program continues to be the tertiary/quaternary program for the state of South Carolina,” Ryan said. “We have a robust kidney transplant program that is further developing comprehensive follow–up plans for these patients throughout the state.”

More than 1,500 visits are handled in the pediatric nephrology clinic each year, providing comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services for children with all types of renal disease including hypertension, urinary tract infections, acute and chronic glomerulonephritis and renal failure. Children with chronic renal failure and end-stage renal disease are treated by a highly–skilled team offering hemodialysis, outpatient peritoneal dialysis and renal transplant.

Notably, the division of nephrology has established the pediatric hypertension program and pediatric kidney stone clinic as well as the vasculitis/lupus nephritis and the transition clinics. The division has expanded and improved continuous renal replacement therapy options and protocols.

“Finding care for a child with a life–threatening or rare condition is one of the most overwhelming experiences parents face,” said Ben Harder, managing editor of health care analysis, U.S. News. “We hope the rankings and information in Best Children’s Hospitals help make a family’s search for the best care possible for their child a little easier.”

The methodology behind the new rankings underwent various changes. For example, the scoring weight assigned to infection prevention and to use of “best practices” was increased and the weight of hospital reputation was decreased. Five–sixths (83.3 percent) of each hospital’s score relied on patient outcomes and the care–related resources each hospital makes available.

Survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing and procedure volume are among the many kinds of information about each ranked hospital that can be viewed on

June 20, 2014



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