Cardiac Surgery

The Department of Cardiac Surgery at Boston Children's Hospital — part of the #1 ranked Heart Center — has been at the forefront of pediatric heart surgery for decades. Our department is the largest in the United States and one of the most specialized in the world.

Each year, our nine dedicated pediatric cardiac surgeons care for more than 1,300 patients, both children and adults, who require every type of congenital heart surgery. We treat each patient with a tailored, personalized approach, based upon the unique characteristics of his or her heart. Every customized approach is based on a thorough diagnostic and physical assessment that may include advanced 3-D imaging or simulation modeling.

Throughout the diagnostic and surgical process, our cardiac surgeons work in collaboration with specialists from other departments and divisions at Boston Children's, as well as with each family's local pediatrician and/or cardiac specialist. This collaborative approach translates to the highest quality of care and better outcomes.

While your child is in exceptional hands, we understand that being told your child needs heart surgery is never easy. We'll walk you through the surgical process and explain what you can expect, and we'll be there to answer your questions every step of the way.

Programs and Services

The Department of Cardiac Surgery at Boston Children's encompasses many specialized programs tailored to certain conditions and patients. These include:

  • Neonatal Cardiac Surgery Program. Newborns who need surgery for heart disease have special needs that are very different from the needs of older children. Our neonatal cardiac surgeons are experienced in treating these delicate infants with the goal of providing the most advanced surgical care while fully supporting families. We leverage the most innovative imaging techniques to develop specific plans for intervention, focusing on the least invasive approach. We have collaborative relationships with maternal fetal programs at local hospitals which can help coordinate delivery and care for the newborn child.

  • Congenital Heart Valve Program. We care for children and adults with congenital heart defects that involve absent or poorly functioning heart valves. We use innovative 3-D imaging to determine the right approach for treating heart valve disease, and choose the most minimally invasive option whenever possible. We focus on surgical valve repair rather than replacement.

  • Adult Congenital Heart Service. Our surgeons continue to care for patients with congenital heart disease as they reach and proceed through adulthood. We also see new adult patients who have been recently diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, and others come to us seeking ongoing care for conditions treated earlier in life.

  • Complex Biventricular Repair Program. We have specialized team of cardiologists and surgeons who treat patients with complex congenital heart disease which may be amenable to biventricular repair. The patient data are reviewed by a multidisciplinary team to develop a personalized plan to achieve a biventricular circulation if possible.

  • Surgical Arrhythmia Program. We provide the most advanced surgical treatment of complex heart arrhythmias (heart rhythm irregularities) in children and young adults. These surgical therapies are tailored to individual patients and often involve innovative, minimally invasive approaches.

Conditions and Treatments

Our specialists treat the full spectrum of heart disorders and diseases, including:

Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR or PAPVR)
Heart Murmur
Aortic valve stenosis Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
Arrhythmia Pacemaker implantation
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Atrioventricular Canal Defect
Pericarditis
Bacterial Endocarditis Pulmonary Atresia
Cardiac Tumor
Pulmonary Hypertension
Cardiomyopathy Single Ventricle Defects
Coarctation of the Aorta Staged biventricular repair
Congestive heart failure Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF, Tet)
Congenital Heart Defects
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with Pulmonary Atresia
Coronary Artery Fistula
Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)
Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV) Tricuspid Atresia
Ebstein's anomaly
Truncus Arteriosis
Fragile X Syndrome Ventricular assist devices
Heart and Lung Transplantation
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

 

Research and Innovation

In 1938, Boston Children's cardiac surgeon Robert Gross, MD, performed the world's first successful surgery to correct a child's heart defect. Since that time, our program's culture has been one of innovation — solving difficult problems that others haven't been able to solve, tackling the most complex cases, and figuring out how to make the process easier for patients. We are focused on developing new methods to repair heart structures rather than replace them whenever possible, with minimally invasive approaches.

Our cardiovascular surgical innovations have included pioneering the Norwood operation for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, the neonatal Arterial Switch Procedure for Transposition of the Great Arteries, robotic surgical approaches for congenital heart disease, and developing modifications for heart-lung bypass that reduce the risk of neurologic injury and developmental delay in children after heart surgery.

Next Steps

For questions, more information, or to schedule an appointment for your child, please call the International Heart Center anytime at +1-857-218-3913 or email heart@childrens.harvard.edu. You may want to begin gathering relevant paperwork such as the patient's height and weight, medications, most recent echocardiogram in DICOM-preferred format (and accompanying report), most recent cardiology summary and clinical status, as well as any other recent cardiac studies such as cath, MRI or CT scans.