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This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

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  • Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital

    Today it's been 5 years since my son Matthew's A.V. Canal repair. I remember the nurses: Shannon, Jaime, and Patrick....They were so good with Matthew and with my husband and I.
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  • Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital

    If it wasn't for Children's Hospital and the Cardiac wing he wouldn't be here. Thank you all for what you have done for us and giving him a chance to grow in front of our eyes! Thank you Dr. Mah, Dr. Baird, and Dr. de Ferranti we owe you the world.
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  • Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital

    5 years ago today, I placed my one week old son in Dr. Emani's hands to repair his COA. I remember it like it was yesterday, and I'm thankful every day for the care we received at the Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital.
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    1 year ago today Dr Baird performed open heart surgery on Cayman. It did NOT slow him down. Today his heart is as good as new and he barely even has a scar. Thank you Dr Baird and everyone on the cardiac floor at Boston Children's Hospital.
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  • Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital

    Two years ago today we were at Boston Children's Hospital and our daughter, Emily, was having an aortic stent placed. We were told it would have to be replaced by the time she turned 2 (which was last June) but its still in place and working beautifully. We thank God every day for the amazing work of Dr. Gerald Marx and Dr. James Lock.
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  • Heart Center at Boston Children's Hospital

    This weekend we celebrated our beautiful daughter, Mikayla's 1st birthday and that’s thanks to the amazing surgeons and staff on the 8th floor!! Mikayla was born with a rare diagnosis of Pentalogy of Cantrell which included several heart defects.
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Support Boston Children's Heart Center

Contact the Department of Cardiac Surgery

Beating Heart Surgery

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Beating Heart Surgery

The problem

We are at the forefront of a whole new field in cardiac surgery that will be less invasive for children and will promote a quicker recovery. Currently, when surgeons operate on a child’s heart, they have to use open-heart surgery. This means using a bypass machine, stopping the heart, opening the chest and performing the surgical repair—an invasive, lengthy procedure that can cause life-threatening complications.

Our innovative solution

Our scientists, led by Pedro J. del Nido, MD, Boston Children's Hospital's chairman of Cardiac Surgery, are exploring ways to perform heart surgery while the heart is actually still beating. But he needed two things that didn't exist:

  • superior imaging tools that could show the structures inside the heart while it's beating - They borrowed technology from the videogame industry and developed stereo-rendered 3-D ultrasound imaging that allows surgeons to see inside the beating heart as a hologram. The high-definition imaging allows us to see the heart in three dimensions as we manipulate structures. With this new technique, we will be able to avoid bypass and also continually assess the heart repair as we’re performing it.

  • tiny instruments to perform the intricate surgery - Our research team is also developing new surgical tools that will allow us to operate on the smallest beating hearts. One is a millimeter-sized tool that extends into the heart through needle-sized incisions. Using a joystick controller and real-time imaging, a surgeon can navigate through the beating heart's chambers to remove blockages, repair faulty valves and close leaks. They have also developed a cardioport device that allows instruments to be safely introduced into the cardiac chambers without the usual risks of blood loss or an air embolism.

Our 3-D tool appears to not only provide superior imaging, but also yield faster surgery times.

Learn more

Video: Operating on beating hearts

Pedro del Nido, MD, Boston Children's chief of Cardiac Surgery, discusses his goal of doing these delicate operations using sophisticated new tools and imaging techniques. Watch video

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO