Christopher Statile, M.D.
Medical Director for Outpatient Services, Heart Institute
Medical Director for Consult Services, Heart Institute Cincinnati Children’s
Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Q: As a pediatric cardiologist at the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s, how does your work make a difference in the lives of congenital heart disease patients?
I work in the echo lab and the fetal lab, as well as on the outpatient and consult teams. I’m often the very first person who meets these patients. If a pregnant mother goes to her OB/GYN and learns that something’s wrong with her baby’s heart, I’ll meet with her. In our first meeting, I give the details about the baby’s heart condition, what that means for pregnancy, delivery and then surgery. I like to talk about what that means for the child’s future — will they be able to play football, dance, live long enough to get married? I get all kinds of questions from worried parents, and that’s understandable. We all try to do the best we can to answer questions, and I try to be realistic — not gloom and doom — but I explain the huge continuum of outcomes that are possible. I then see that baby from in utero to the time the child is an adult. It’s a unique bond.
Q: Please share with me your most exciting news as it relates to research and innovation.
Technology has improved so much that we have portable machines in our Mobile Care Center, which travels to serve patients in rural and underserved urban areas. These machines are just as good as the ones in our brick-and-mortar facility. We also have a Digital Media and 3D Modeling Program that can help with surgical planning, like building 3D models of a human heart and using virtual reality for surgery planning. The program director and pediatric cardiologist Dr. Ryan Moore can come to a meeting with the surgeon, the patients and their families, and use the model to plan and describe the process.
Q: What’s one of the most rewarding experiences you have had in your career?
There are many, and they’re all works in progress. I diagnosed a patient with a single ventricle as a fetus during my fellowship and followed her care after that. Every time I see her in clinic, I smile. She’s now grown up and just kicking butt. She’s taking gymnastics, and you just can’t stop her. I jokingly have to tell her parents to tell her to stop moving so much.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you ever given as it relates to your field or what is the best piece of advice you can give out?
Medicine is not a job, it’s a passion. Find something you’re truly passionate about and pursue it. There’s not a single day that I don’t smile at seeing kids being goofy and happy. Every day I come to Cincinnati Children’s and leave seeing children climbing on things and smiling is a great day.