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How She Spent Her Summer Vacation

While some people can’t wait to vacation at the beach and frolic in flip flops, Kathryn Lindley, MD, was excited to spend a summer month clad in a lab coat learning to better care for pregnant women with heart disease.

As a recipient of the Robert and Casey O’Brien Heart and Vascular Fellowship at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Dr. Lindley went to Atlanta in August for intense training at the Emory Adult Congenital Heart Clinic.

“At Emory, I learned from the multidisciplinary approach taken for managing women with high-risk pregnancies,” Dr. Lindley says. “This experience has significantly shaped my career path. I hope to bring the knowledge gained to Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital to improve the health of women and infants in St. Louis.”

As a result of Dr. Lindley’s experience, she has set several goals to benefit women with heart disease who are, or wish to be, pregnant.

More than 90 percent of women born with congenital heart disease are now surviving to childbearing age. In addition, the number of women giving birth at advanced ages has been steadily rising for the past decade. As a result, maternal heart disease is the leading cause of death or serious health problems during pregnancy and delivery.

“Based on these trends, we can only expect the need for expert maternal cardiac care to increase in the future,” Dr. Lindley says. “My goal is to create a specialized maternal cardiac clinic at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The unique training experience I was able to receive through the O’Brien Fellowship is an investment that is contributing to the future success of a women’s program at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and to our continued excellence as leaders in medicine.”

“I’m so grateful for the generosity of the O’Briens. Without their support, this opportunity would not have been possible.”

Douglas Mann, MD, cardiologist-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, sees lasting benefits of the O’Brien Fellowship experience. “The O’Brien Fellowship provides trainees in cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery and vascular surgery with unique opportunities to gain additional clinical skill sets that add to the excellent training they already receive at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

“Having the ability to learn best practices and to train alongside nationally recognized experts at other outstanding institutions is a fantastic opportunity for our young doctors and provides them with in-depth clinical experiences in very specialized areas that might not be available here. In addition, many of the O’Brien Fellows stay on as faculty, which directly benefits patient care because of the clinical expertise that is acquired through their away rotations.”

About the O'Brien Fellowship

In 2011, Robert and Casey O’Brien established the Robert and Casey O’Brien Heart and Vascular Fellowship through The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. This fellowship provides a focused training experience in another institution either inside or outside the United States that enable trainees to expand knowledge and skills gained at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

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