In the past, most heart surgeries were performed to improve heart function but not necessarily correct the underlying defect. Then, starting in the 1970s, our Cardiac Surgery team began to develop ways to actually correct the underlying defect and restore the full functionality of the heart. This work continues today.
Science and technology have come so far that we can actually create a more normal anatomy—a close-to-normal physiology of the heart. One example involves the tried-and-true Fontan procedure for a child with only one functioning ventricle. We have learned over time that this operation—while very good—does not carry the child into his 20s or 30s without problems. Our researchers have recently identified ways to create a two-ventricle physiology for the child—to help the heart function fully and normally for decades.
Changing the outcomes of these heart defects is the driving force behind all of our innovations.