Department of Cardiac Surgery

Department of Cardiac Surgery Overview

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The Department of Cardiac Surgery at Boston Children's Hospital  has been at the forefront of pediatric heart surgery since 1938 when Robert Gross, MD, performed the first operation to correct a congenital heart defect. In the years since that groundbreaking procedure, our Department of Cardiac Surgery has grown to become the largest in the United States and one of the most specialized in the world.

Our cardiac surgery team is made up of six pediatric cardiac surgeons who are dedicated exclusively to patients with congenital heart disease and other rare heart conditions. Each year, our surgeons care for more than 1,000 patients, both children and adults, who require every type of congenital heart surgery. This experience translates to better outcomes. It also means that our surgeons can sub-specialize in different areas of cardiac surgery and push the boundaries of what was previously possible in each of their areas.

Our collaborative approach

Pedro DelnidoYour child’s care team will be made up of cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiovascular nurses and imaging technicians—all of whom are specifically trained in treating pediatric heart conditions.

We work in collaboration with specialists from other departments and divisions at Boston Children’s, and our multidisciplinary approach ensures the highest quality of care.

As a team, this network of specialists forms a comprehensive care plan that accounts for the many aspects of your child’s health that is affected when she has a heart condition.

From your first visit, you’ll work with a team of professionals who are committed to supporting all of your family’s medical, physical and emotional needs. Each step we take is focused on making your family’s experience as manageable as possible.

Cardiac care over a lifetime

Twenty years ago, our primary concern was whether a baby or child would survive the complex procedures we performed. Pediatric heart surgery was still in its infancy. Today that has changed; the majority of children do extremely well. What we focus on now is how to make sure the child is doing well in her 20s and 40s, and 50s, 60s and 70s.  Our goal is for the child to lead a long normal life, and we plan our clinical management of the child over many decades.

Innovation

Innovations play a critical role in our patients’ health, so we are constantly creating new ways to treat heart diseases. Our scientists investigate every aspect of the heart, and the conditions that affect it, so we can offer new and improved treatments to our patients. Our program's culture is one of innovation—of solving difficult problems that others haven't been able to solve, tackling the most complex cases, and figuring out ways to make the process easier on patients. 

Cardiac surgery success rates 

You can have peace of mind knowing that our surgeons treat some of the most complex pediatric heart conditions, with success rates that are among the highest in the world.

Procedure 2006-2008 # Cases (Survival %)
2009-2011:
# Cases (Survival %)
2011 Only: 
# Cases (Survival %)
Open Heart 2,148 (97%)  
2,498 (98%)
848 (98%)
Closed Heart (excludes premature PDA’s)
1,246 (99%)


1,230 (99%)
381 (99%)
Total 3,394 (98%)
3,728 (98%)
1,229 (98%)

 

Our pediatric heart surgery outcomes

Despite treating some of the most complex pediatric heart conditions in the world, the Cardiac Surgery Program at Boston Children's has some of the best success rates.

Because hospitals present data differently and because of the uniqueness of each child's situation, it is important that statistics and outcomes are fully explained. We are happy to speak with you regarding our outcomes.

Additional Resources: Heart Center Facts and Figures

Procedure

2008-2010 # Cases (Survival %)

2011-2013: 
# Cases (Survival %)

2013 Only: 
# Cases (Survival %)

Open Heart

2,416 (98%)  

2,560 (98%)

871 (99%)

Closed Heart (excludes premature PDA’s)

1,291 (99%)

1,248 (99%)

503 (99%)

Total

3,707 (98%)

3,808 (98%)

1,374 (99%)

Selected Procedures (30 Day Survival Rates)

Surgeries Performed 2008-2010

Survival Rate 2008-2010

Surgeries Performed 2011-2013

Survival Rate 2011-2013

ASD

178

100%

181

 100%

VSD with or without Arch Reconstruction

211

100% 

254

 100%

Arterial Switch (ASO) 

 

 

 


   ASO with VSD 

51

100%

45

 96%

   ASO TGA/IVS

53

100% 

55

 98%

   ASO Double     Switch 

18

100% 

29

 93%

Repair of Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return

26

92%

44

 95%

Repair Truncus Arteriosus with or without Arch Repair

17

94%

13

100%

Norwood Stage I

68

93%

71

92%

Bi-Directional Glenn Stage II

92

99%

75

99%

Fontan Stage III 

125

98%

122

98%

Repair AV Canal, Complete 

99

99%

112

100% 

Repair AV Canal, Partial 

71

100%

54

100%

Aortic Valve Repair 

91

100%

82

100%

Mitral Valve Repair 

131

100%

140

100%

Tetrology of Fallot (Pulmonary Styenosis or Atresia) 

187

100%

141

100%

Sub-Aortic Stenosis 

49

100% 

64

100%

 Pulmonary Valve Insertion

198

100% 

197

99%

Right Ventricle to Pulmonary Artery Conduit 

76

100% 

55

100%

 Ebstein's Anomaly/Cone Operation

35

100% 

42

100%

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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
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