Department of Cardiac Surgery | Programs and Services

Adults with Congenital Heart Disease

Our Cardiac Surgery team specializes in caring for patients with congenital heart disease as they reach and proceed through adulthood. All of our surgeons continue to care for patients on whom they have previously operated, regardless of the patient’s age. In addition, as part of the Adult Congenital Heart Service, we see new adult patients. This includes adults who have recently been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and those who need ongoing adult care for conditions treated earlier in their lives. Currently, more than 100 adult patients undergo surgical procedures at Children’s each year and the number keeps growing.

Congenital Heart Valve Program

In our Congenital Heart Valve Program, we care for children with congenital heart defects involving absent or malfunctioning heart valves. Our surgeons have a strong record of excellence in heart valve repair and replacement, including minimally invasive techniques. Historically, children who have heart valve conditions have had chronic problems that require lifelong follow-up and treatment. Also, few artificial replacement heart valves are available that are designed specifically for children. To address these problems, our researchers are exploring ways to reconstruct children’s existing valves. Unlike replacement valves, a child with a reconstructed valve can last a long time and give her an optimal quality of life.

Heart and Lung Transplantation (when child needs both)

Our Heart Transplant Program and Lung Transplant Program evaluate children who are potential candidates for heart or lung transplants, and manage the care of children who have had these transplants. Our programs are among the busiest in the country and report superior outcomes.

Cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, pulmonologists, advanced practice nurses, physical therapists, radiologists, pathologists, nutritionists, transplant pharmacists and transplant coordinators collaborate to provide comprehensive care to our complex patients and their families. Together, we offer expertise in end-stage heart and lung failure, ventricular assist devices and pre- and post-transplant management.

Mechanical Circulatory Support Program

Cardiac Surgery has an active program providing mechanical circulatory support for children with end-stage heart disease. Modes of support include Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) and Ventricular Assist Devices, including the Berlin Heart Excor, Levitronix and Abiomed Impella. These devices are used to support the patient while she recovers or awaits a heart transplant. At Children’s, our researchers are actively engaged in exploring clinical applications of these devices for patients with complex congenital heart disease and are investigating new support technologies for children. Learn more.

Neonatal Cardiac Surgery Program

Congenital heart disease may appear in a newborn (“neonate”) immediately after birth or can become evident during the first month of life. During this extremely fragile period, newborns who need surgery for heart disease have special needs that differ from those of older children. Operations performed on newborns frequently require complex reconstruction of the heart and blood vessels. Our neonatal cardiac surgeons are experienced in treating these delicate infants. Our goals are to provide the most advanced surgical care while fully supporting their families.

Surgical Arrhythmia Program

Cardiac surgeons work closely with electrophysiologists to provide the most advanced surgical treatment of complex heart arrhythmias (heart rhythm irregularities) in children and young adults. These surgical therapies are tailored to individual patients and often involve innovative, minimally invasive approaches. In addition, our surgical arrthythmia program—which combines the expertise of cardiac surgeons, electrophysiology specialists and cardiologists—has developed novel approaches to pacemaker and AICD placement in even the smallest of children.