New Mexico's Only Pediatric Heart Surgeon
Presbyterian Heart Group has the only pediatric heart surgeon in the state and is the only hospital in New Mexico performing congenital open heart procedures.
An Interview with Dr. Carl Lagerstrom: Our Doctor Who Fixes the Smallest Hearts
Dr. Lagerstrom is a father of three. Being a "soccer dad" brings him joy. He's patient, meticulous, and performs more than 350 surgeries each year--154 of them on children. Although he considers himself a perfectionist, he still keeps his "good luck duck" handy in the OR.
How do you know when a child has a heart problem?
"Most of the time the problems are discovered in the hospital when children are born or pediatricians pick them up on well baby visits during the first two or three weeks. Sometimes it's because the children are not growing well. They don't develop, they're real small. These kids may have congestive heart failure."
What makes a difficult day for you?
"My days are always busy. They're always full. But I think the hardest times are when I have patients, particularly kids, who are really sick. If my patients are having a bad day, then I am too."
What's the most difficult aspect of operating on children?
"The hardest part about operating on children is not for the child. It's for the parents. It's a tremendous stress on the parents. I always tell them it's going to be a lot harder on you than it is on your child. The children sleep through the whole ordeal and are sedated the first few days after surgery. They simply don't remember. But the parents don't know what to think or what to expect. However, after we've met together and they meet the people in the hospital and take a tour of the pediatric intensive care unit, they usually feel a lot better about it."
What makes you a good pediatric surgeon?
"My obsessive compulsive personality and my attention to detail. You have to be meticulous and you have to be kind of a perfectionist. You also have to work with an amazing group of people. And I do."
What makes your job easier?
"I'm fortunate because I have very good relationships with the doctors at Pediatrix Cardiology Associates. We have a conference every week to discuss each case they've seen. Together, we review all the information and try to come up with a decision that we think is going to be the best thing for that child. I really rely on their expertise and their experience."
Pediatrix Cardiology Associates
The Presbyterian Heart Group and Pediatrix Cardiology Associates of New Mexico proudly work together to provide the most comprehensive pediatric cardiac services to infants, children and young adults in New Mexico and from around the world. The pediatric cardiology program at The Children's Center at Presbyterian is the largest in the state with over 130 surgeries performed each year on children with congenital heart defects.
The Children's Center
1100 Central Ave. SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
NICU 800-432-4600, ext.1090
Pediatric Urgent Care (Albuquerque)
1100 Central SE
Open every day, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Major holidays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If possible, please arrive at least one hour before closing.