Pediatric Heart Center Overview

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Here at our Heart Center, we are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for every patient—as well as providing long-term support for every family. 

Our top-ranked team treats the full spectrum of cardiac disorders, including the rarest and most complex congenital heart defects. 

Our patients range from babies still in the womb to adults. They come to Boston Children’s from every part of the United States, as well as from all over the world, for care that combines:

  • The most advanced medical and surgical treatments
  • Exceptional outcomes
  • Groundbreaking innovations and discoveries
  • Close working relationships with, and guidance for, all members of the family

Popular Heart Center destinations

What sets us apart?

We have been named #1 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery every year that U.S.News & World Report has ranked the nation's top pediatric hospitals by specialty.

Whenever we can, we choose minimally invasive approaches to treat heart disease. We believe strongly in:

  • Choosing catheterization over open-heart surgery
  • Repairing heart valves rather than replacing them
  • Using medical management in place of heart-lung bypass machines and other ventricular-assist devices

The care we provide doesn’t begin when patients are admitted to the hospital, or end when they go home—and it isn’t restricted by a patient's age. We serve as a resource for all patients with congenital heart defects.

A world-class team, working tirelessly for every patient

The Boston Children’s Heart Center team is made up of more than 500 individual experts. This size allows us to offer customized care, in more specialties, for every patient.

  • Our team members have extensive training not only in pediatric cardiology, but in treating all congenital heart disease.
  • Our experts have developed one of the nation's premier programs for adults with congenital heart conditions.
  • Our doctors and nurses are also pioneers in life-saving fetal cardiac interventions.

Learn more about our care team.

Our outcomes

Despite treating the most serious congenital heart conditions, the Boston Children's Hospital Heart Center has some of the best success rates in the world, with surgical survival rates that approach 99 percent.

Quality and safety

Our commitment to delivering exceptional care extends to quality and safety initiatives, too. 

  • Our transplant cases are actually decreasing—because we have come up with new ways to treat conditions that previously required transplantation.
  • In some cases, our surgical caseloads are also decreasing, due to our widespread use of catheterization.
  • Our patient-to-nurse ratio has decreased because of our nursing staff’s elite level of experience.

Learn more about our quality initiatives.

What's new

Making history

In 2007, Boston Children’s Hospital cardiac surgeon Francis Fynn-Thompson, MD, received special permission from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implant a Berlin Heart®—a ventricular assist devices (VAD) that temporarily takes over the heart’s pumping functions—in a 9-year-old boy on the waiting list for a donor heart. This life-saving procedure laid the groundwork for the development of a national multi-institutional trial studying the efficacy and safety of the Berlin Heart in children. In 2011, the Berlin Heart device received FDA approval to support children of all ages to transplantation. This could not have been possible without the integral role that Boston Children’s Hospital cardiologist Christopher Almond, MD, MPH, played in helping design and conduct this trial.

In 2012, Boston Children’s hospital once again petitioned the FDA for special approval to use a new, totally implantable device called the HeartWare® in a 13-year-old girl. She was the first patient with a VAD at Boston Children’s to be discharged home and the first child with the HeartWare in the United States to resume school. Learn more.

Our Heart Center team is proud to have been ranked #1 in the nation in Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report.

Lucas redefines the term "half hearted"

The next time you’re tempted to refer to a lazy co-worker’s efforts as 'half-hearted",  take a second to rethink that statement. In popular culture half-hearted may mean unmotivated, but around the McGowan house it means brave, strong and amazing.

Bill and Becky McGowan were just about five months into their first pregnancy when tests revealed that there was a problem with their baby’s heart. The doctors explained Lucas, their unborn child, had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), one of the most devastating congenital heart defects, in which the left ventricle is severely underdeveloped.

They were stunned and scared, but also determined to give Lucas the best shot at life, half a heart and all. Read more…


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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