In addition to being American Heart Month, February is also National Marfan Awareness Month. Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder of the connective tissue that affects many organ systems, including the skeleton, lungs, eyes, heart and blood vessels.
It’s estimated that more than 200,000 people in the United States have the condition, which is most often inherited. While there are generally some external signs such as tall, thin bodies and long, lanky limbs, the disorder can be difficult to diagnose.
Undiagnosed Marfan syndrome is dangerous because it can affect the aorta, the heart’s main blood vessel. As a result, those with Marfan syndrome are at high risk for thoracic aortic aneurysm formation and aortic dissection, which can be fatal.
Alan Braverman, MD, is director of the Marfan Syndrome Clinic at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, one of the largest of its kind in the country.
Not only is Dr. Braverman a nationally recognized expert on Marfan syndrome, he also has a personal commitment to treating patients with this disorder. He lost his father to Marfan syndrome and has a brother and nephew who are affected by the condition.
Dr. Braverman also is chair of the National Marfan Foundation’s Professional Advisory Board and serves as co-host of the Heartworks St. Louis gala with his wife, Rebecca. This year’s gala, which benefits the National Marfan Foundation (NMF), will be held on Saturday, March 2.
At this year’s gala, Marc Moon, MD, a Washington University cardiothoracic surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, will receive the NMF’s Hero with a Heart award.
“I’m very proud to honor my wonderful colleague and friend, Dr. Marc Moon,” says Dr. Braverman. “Dr. Moon has provided life-saving surgery to countless patients with complex aortic disease, including aortic dissection and thoracic aortic aneurysm, and is a leader in valve-sparing aortic root surgery in Marfan syndrome and related disorders. In addition, he has been an invaluable contributor to the NMF’s aortic surgery registry. We are so fortunate to have a doctor with Marc’s expertise in our medical center available for consultation and surgical therapy for these difficult cases.”
This year marks the fifth anniversary for the Heartworks St. Louis gala. More than 300 people attended last year’s event, including leading St. Louis-area clinicians and researchers involved in caring for patients with Marfan syndrome and conducting relevant research, and members of the St. Louis Chapter of the NMF.
The event will be held in the Starlight Ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis. The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 7 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the Charles Glen Band.
Tickets to Heartworks St. Louis are $200 each. To purchase, contact Kristin Braun at 516-883-8712, ext. 124, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Heart & Vascular