Meet the Expert: Dr. Rebecca Ameduri

Oct 10, 2022 | Kristin Eggebraaten | @keggebraaten

If you have a child who needs a heart transplant, you may have met Dr. Rebecca Ameduri. Dr. Ameduri is a pediatric cardiologist and the Medical Director of Pediatric Heart Transplant at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Dr. Amerduri joined Mayo Clinic in August 2021 and is working with children in our ventricular assist device program and our heart transplant program. She came to us from the University of Minnesota where she has been helping children and families since 2010. Since she is relatively new to our practice, we wanted to learn more about why she chose pediatrics and cardiac medicine and what she loves to do when she is not enhancing the lives of our patients.

Why did you choose this area of expertise? How did you get into cardiac and pediatric medicine?

From the time I was a small child, I knew I wanted to go into medicine. Specifically, I enjoyed working with children and always knew I would go into pediatrics. I found cardiology very intriguing and challenging, and so I chose that as my career path.

Describe your specialty and areas of expertise/primary interest.

Although I do practice in general pediatric cardiology, I have a particular interest in complex cardiac lesions, heart failure in the single ventricle, ventricular assist devices and heart transplantation.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

I can’t imagine doing anything else. Recently I had a conversation with my teenagers about careers, and we were discussing this exact question – and I said I would choose the same career over again. However, when I retire, I could see going into education and working to excite kids about science and careers in medicine.

What is your best general advice for parents who have a child in need of heart transplant?

That our goal with heart transplant is to give their child a better quality of life, and so although they will be afraid of infection and the risk of rejection, we want these children to be active, go to school, and be treated as normal as possible.

Describe one of your favorite or most rewarding clinical experiences.

This is a tough one. I feel like I develop personal bonds with each of my patients and families, and so seeing them go from death’s door, to getting through transplant, and then coming back to see me and tell me all the exciting things they are doing is the most rewarding thing.

What research have you been involved in?

I am involved in several multi-institutional research projects through the Pediatric Heart Transplant Society that are focused on clinical outcomes following heart transplant. In addition, I am working with a national clinical trial in pediatric heart transplant, called the TEAMMATE trial. This trial is the first trial of a new drug regimen to try and improve pediatric heart transplant outcomes.

Previously, I was involved in the FDA approval trial for the Berlin Heart ventricular assist device, which is now FDA approved and available for more children.

What do you think are some of the most influential trends or findings in cardiac transplantation and research?

The understanding of immunology and the amount of data we have available to us is growing tremendously. Although outcomes for pediatric heart transplant are improved in the current era with now more than 92% 1 year survival, we are still working to understand all this data, and try to use it to improve heart transplant outcomes. The focus of most current research in this field is to find better immunosuppressive agents with less toxicity or side effects.

In your opinion, what sets Mayo Clinic care apart from other transplant centers? What will patients find at Mayo Clinic that they may not be able to get elsewhere?

Mayo clinic has tremendous resources in the transplant center. The pediatric program benefits from being part of such a large adult heart transplant program. Since transplant is such a pivotal program at Mayo Clinic, they have developed the infrastructure of all the support services needed to help the outcomes and transplant success.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

When a child doesn’t do well, it is very challenging. We know that pediatric heart transplant is not a guarantee, but we push the field forward and hope for the best for each child.

What are your interests or passions outside of work?

Most of my time outside of work is spent taxiing my children to their activities. I have 2 girls, ages 12 and 14, and they are active with soccer and ski racing. I also am busy with my new puppy, Ember, who is a huge mastador (mastiff lab mix). I enjoy running, mountain biking, and skiing to stay active.



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