Spina bifida is a developmental disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube before a baby is born.
The UAMS clinic will help coordinate the patients’ complex care needs with different UAMS specialists and with their primary care physicians. The clinic includes physicians and staff from urology, wound care nurses, and medical social workers who will coordinate with other UAMS medical services including physical medicine and rehabilitation, plastic and reconstructive surgery, general surgery, neurosurgery and orthopedics.
Each year, spina bifida patients seen at Arkansas Children’s Hospital turn 21 and must transition to adult care elsewhere. Spina bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States.
The formation of the adult Spina Bifida Clinic was led by UAMS’ Ehab Eltahawy, M.D., who has fellowship training in genitourinary reconstruction and neurogenic disorders of the urinary tract.
“Spina bifida patients and their families require this type of clinic because they’re struggling to access all the follow-up care they need,” Eltahawy said. “UAMS is in a unique position to offer a multidisciplinary clinic.”
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,865 students and 785 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state.
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