Coarctation of the aorta pediatric research and clinical trials

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Contact the Department of Cardiac Surgery

Boston Children's Hospital is known for successfully pioneering many cardiac treatments. A large part of our success comes from our commitment to research—and to advancing the frontiers of what’s possible in cardiac medicine through the world’s largest pediatric research program.

Shaping new advances in fetal and newborn care, our researchers work just steps away from our physicians and patients—giving doctors a vital jump-start on applying lifesaving research discoveries to real-life patient care.

Coarctation stenting clinical trial

Under the leadership of principal investigator and Boston Children’s cardiologist  Doff McElhinney, MD, this research has studied—and will continue to study—the use, safety and effectiveness of the new Cheatham Platinum bare-metal stent for the treatment of coarctation of the aorta.

Placement of a stent (a metal tube inserted into a blood vessel) can be done through catheterization, and can be as effective as surgery. This study involves catheterization performed just as it would be with an older type of stent. Special x-rays and an MRI will be used to assess the new stent for up to two years following the catheterization.

Cardiac research

Boston Children's has pioneered interventional catheterization repair of many types of congenital heart defects, including coarctation of the aorta. We’re also a world pioneer in the development and use of innovative fetal cardiac intervention to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Thanks to Boston Children’s research and refinements of technique, our Advanced Fetal Care Center offers the world’s largest and most experienced fetal intervention program.

Boston Children's is committed to opening new avenues of "translational research"—bringing laboratory advances to the bedside and doctor's office as soon as possible. All senior medical staff members of the Department of Cardiology participate in clinical research activities, and many do laboratory research, as well.

Current heart research projects include:

  • the further development of innovative catheterization treatments for the treatment of complex cardiac diseases
  • the design and evaluation of new therapeutic catheters and techniques
  • the use of transcatheter radio-frequency ablation to treat both simple and complex arrhythmias
  • a multi-disciplinary clinical trial studying brain function following the effects of body cooling and blood thinning (hemodilution) during open heart surgery
  • a study of pH management strategy in infant heart surgery
  • population-based studies of clinical outcomes and resource utilization for congenital heart defects
  • control of the body's inflammatory response to cardiopulmonary bypass and surgery
  • the use of inhaled nitric oxide to reduce pulmonary hypertension
  • a study of the effects of the drug Adriamycin on heart function in survivors of childhood cancer
  • a cross-sectional study on long-term outcome after the Fontan procedure
  • improved approaches to protecting the heart and brain in infants and children during surgical procedures
  • the design and creation of heart valves using a patient's own tissue
  • the design and evaluation of three-dimensional electrophysiological mapping techniques
  • evaluation of the biophysics of radio-frequency ablation to treat arrhythmia
  • a six-center study of HIV's effect on the hearts of infants and children

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.

Learn more about current projects in heart surgery research.

Boston Children’s Congenital Heart Valve Program

Our Congenital Heart Valve Program cares for children with congenital heart defects involving absent or malfunctioning heart valves—often an accompanying defect with coarctation of the aorta. Our surgeons have a strong record of excellence in heart valve repair and replacement, including minimally invasive techniques.

Innovative valve care

In the past, children with heart valve conditions have had chronic problems that require lifelong follow-up and treatment. Currently, few artificial replacement heart valves are available that are designed specifically for children, so doctors are limited in their options. Further complicating matters, when surgeons place a new valve in a child, it doesn't expand as the child grows, so it needs to be replaced over time.

To address these problems, Boston Children's cardiac surgery researchers are exploring ways to reconstruct children's existing valves. Unlike replacement valves, a reconstructed valve can last a long time and give children an optimal quality of life. 


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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

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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