Kansas Kids Heart Center (KKHC) offers a full complement of diagnostic and treatment modalities to provide continuous care for patients of all ages — from before birth through adulthood — who have congenital heart problems.
Treatments for congenital heart conditions have become so effective that patients are living longer, healthier lives well into adulthood. This has changed the needs and dynamics of caring for the population suffering from congenital heart disease (CHD). As the first generation of survivors of open-heart surgeries age and remarkable advances in the field help physicians diagnose children sooner and more reliably than ever before, KKHC is a welcoming and comfortable place for all patients to receive the sophisticated care they need.
“Although our name says ‘kids,’ we are also a member of the Adult Congenital Heart Association and are extremely honored to serve all patients with CHD from before birth through adulthood,” says Mohamad Al-Ahdab, MD, FAAP, CCDS, founder of KKHC.
Dr. Al-Ahdab, popularly and affectionately known as Dr. Mo, completed his pediatrics residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed fellowships in pediatric cardiology, electrophysiology and cardiac intensive care at the University of Michigan and Harvard University. Dr. Mo has a special interest in cardiac electrophysiology and cardiac pacing, which involve invasive and non-invasive procedures to treat heart arrhythmia in children and young adults. He was the first provider in Wichita to perform cryoablation for ablation of arrhythmia and to implant an atrial septal occluder device in children.
Having a fondness for the strong sense of community in Wichita and a desire to make pediatric heart care more accessible in the area, Dr. Mo began KKHC in 2010, making it Wichita’s most established and longest-practicing pediatric heart center.
Dr. Mo with a patient. Patients are the first priority, and the team makes every effort to ensure the care they receive is positive, respectful, responsive and timely.
Patients are the first priority at KKHC, and the team makes every effort to ensure the care they receive is positive, respectful, responsive and timely.
“Timely access to care is important, and we try to respect that in the lives of our patients and patient families,” Dr. Mo says. “We have purposed ourselves to see patients within two weeks of receiving a call from them, and we achieve this 95 percent of the time. This takes a great deal of organizational flow and the implementation of additional systems and processes, but we feel that achieving this goal is paramount.”
Welcoming Dr. Lefebvre
To meet the growing needs of the community and improve access, Dr. Mo sought to expand the practice by adding a partner who felt deeply devoted to the patient and appreciated the community as much as he did. When he and pediatric cardiologist Melissa Lefebvre, DO, met, they knew it was a good fit. KKHC welcomed her to the practice in September of 2014, and she has since become a very special part of the lives of many patients.
“Dr. Lefebvre is a wonderful addition to the practice,” says Dr. Mo. “She is very detailed and reads every surgical note before seeing the patient. She also spends good time with patients — more time, in fact, than any doctor I know. She is wonderful about communicating with patients, and they love her.”
Melissa Lefebvre, DO, pediatric cardiologist and new Partner of KKHC
An Arizona native and alumna of the University of Arizona, Dr. Lefebvre completed her residency in both internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Louisville. Following residency, she completed her specialty training in pediatric cardiology at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin. She is particularly interested in echocardiography.
“I knew from the time I was a very young child — around the age of 5 — that I wanted to be in medicine,” Dr. Lefebvre says. “It is what I love. I enjoy working with people and the complexities of heart care.”
She came to the area and to the practice because it offered the flexibility she wanted as well as the challenge.
“When I first came, I was seeking flexibility and a community-oriented atmosphere,” Dr. Lefebvre says. “I was a bit concerned that I would not see the challenging cases I knew existed in a more densely populated area, and I was afraid I would miss that aspect. This was not the case, though. The cases I see are just as complex. Many people come a long way to receive care — some drive five hours to see us. That adds an additional layer of responsibility. It is humbling to know these folks work so hard to see us. We return that with our best efforts on every level.”
Patients have the advantage of no restrictions or limitations on the types of insurance they carry when they come to KKHC.
“Many times we take patients as charity cases because we understand that many people are dealing with very unfortunate circumstances,” Dr. Mo notes.
The team at Kansas Kids Heart Center (L–R) Bethanie Parker; Wendy Boyd; Melissa Lefebvre, DO; Ashley Wilson; Erika Sanchez-Rivas; and Pam McGowan
When patients need higher care, providers send them to the hospital that provides the best results for the particular circumstances of the problem.
“We have a relationship with Children’s Mercy, which is a wonderful hospital and one of the highest ranking in cardio care,” Dr. Mo states. “However, if the facility cannot perform the surgery, we send patients to the hospital that can and that produces the best results. Many times we have to fight aggressively with insurance, but our patients deserve that effort.”
Where the Heart Is
Many aspects of heart care are difficult, especially for the parents of young children.
“We have many parents and grandparents crying in our office because any medical condition is indeed very worrisome,” Dr. Lefebvre says. “We understand that and try to be compassionate partners in the difficult times. But it is much more than that. We care very deeply about patients and their families, and they become like family whom we owe our greatest efforts. We can’t rest until they have our all. The best part is that in the vast majority of cases, the kids get better. And that is all we want.”
There is a certain something about the heartland that pulls you in and holds you there. The warmth and genuineness of the people instills a deep desire to add to the legacy of the area. Drs. Mo and Lefebvre hope their efforts help build a strong and healthy tomorrow for their patients and that their appreciation for the community is their lasting legacy.
For more information on Kansas Kids Heart Center, please visit kansaskidsheartcenter.com or call 316-440-8800.