Atrioventricular Canal Defect | Research and Clinical Trials

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Contact the Complex Biventricular Repair Program

Pediatric cardiologists and pediatric cardiovascular surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital have pioneered the interventional catheterization repair techniques now used widely for many congenital heart defects.

Much of our groundbreaking cardiac research aims to refine and advance the open heart surgery and catheterization procedures that correct congenital heart defects in infants and children—including atrioventricular canal defect.

Cardiac surgery research

Members of the Boston Children’s Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory—a multidisciplinary team of basic and applied research investigators who hold faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School—are studying the mechanisms of heart disease and new treatments for children with congenital heart defects.

Some principal areas of active research are:

  • surgical robotics and ultrasound-guided intracardiac surgery: The department is pioneering the use of 3-D ultrasound and laparoscopic techniques to operate on the beating heart.
  • myocardial metabolism and myocardial hypertrophy and heart failure: Researchers are exploring new methods of myocardial preservation during heart surgery and the role of angiogenic growth factors in heart failure.
  • tissue engineering to stimulate the growth of new tissue to repair congenital defects, including valve abnormalities, right ventricular defects and arrhythmias

Cardiology research

Boston Children's is a world leader in opening new avenues of “translational research,” bringing laboratory advances to the bedside and doctor’s office as soon as possible. Senior medical staff members of the Department of Cardiology—all of whom hold faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School—participate in clinical research activities, and many do laboratory research, as well.

Learn more about Boston Children’s cardiac research initiatives and Boston Children’s current projects in cardiology research.


New Congenital Heart Valve Center: Clinical heart researchers at Boston Children’s are creating a new heart valve center with a focus on valve repair rather than replacement. The new center has formed in response to the greater emphasis currently being placed on identifying and treating valve abnormalities in children and young adults with congenital heart disease.

Part of our approach to repairing AV canal is finding new ways to get more accurate imaging information ahead of time with techniques such as 3-dimensional (3D) echo and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Through use of such techniques, our surgeons can better understand the mechanism of valve dysfunction, and the appropriate repair to address that mechanism. Children’s studies in the new center will be ongoing.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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