Current Environment:

Research & Innovation | Overview

Our team has a long history of developing non-surgical ways of treating children with heart disease. We have developed and improved catheterization procedures that can be used for treatment of rare and complex conditions, as well as simple diseases.

Some of our innovations:

  • 1996 - The Webster-Jenkins basket catheter is developed by Kathy Jenkins, MD, and James E. Lock, MD, to provide rapid diagnostic information in mapping multiple sites of cardiac arrhythmias.
  • 1999 - The FDA approves the use of CardioSEAL, a catheter-implanted device developed at Boston Children's to repair holes in the hearts.
  • 2001 - Surgeons at Boston Children's perform the world's first successful prenatal aortic valvuloplasty to prevent the progression of fetal aortic stenosis to hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in a 19-week-old fetus. Boston Children's cardiologists threaded a cardiac catheter through the fetus's aortic valve and inflated a balloon to widen the opening.
  • 2007 - We were one of the first centers in the U.S. to do pulmonary valve replacements (PVRs) in the catheterization lab. We started in 2007 as part of a clinical trial for the Melody valve. In 2015, we did more PVRs in the catheterization lab than by surgery for the first time.

Congenital Cardiac Catheterization Project on Outcomes (C3PO)

The use of cardiac catheterization procedures for children with congenital heart disease (CHD) has increased in recent decades, and technological advances have expanded the scope of the field into more complex procedures. Because these procedures are still relatively new, their use has not been standardized, which makes it difficult to compare outcomes across institutions.

The Congenital Cardiac Catheterization Project on Outcomes (C3PO) was created in 2007 to address this issue by prospectively collecting data on catheterizations from multiple institutions via a web-based tool. The collaborative project yielded the first risk adjustment method (CHARM) to allow equitable comparisons of outcomes among institutions, endorsed by the National Quality Forum, and to date the only nationally endorsed quality metric in congenital catheterization.

By 2013, enough data had been collected for analysis, and a quality improvement initiative was launched. This program, called C3PO-QI, aims to establish standardized, comparable metrics for cardiac catheterization procedures in children.

C3PO-QI’s first initiative was to reduce radiation exposure in the cath lab. Going forward, the program is uniquely poised to deliver a wide range of fast-paced quality improvements in the field. C3PO-QI’s network allows for rapid user feedback, which is particularly helpful during the implementation stage of new initiatives.

Fifteen institutions across the U.S. currently participate in the collaboration.

Over the next decade, the standardization practices driven by C3PO-QI and other registries will continue to advance patient-centered care and risk reduction measures.

Recent research includes: