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Children's Hospital, New Orleans

The Heart Center at Children's Hospital
Appointments:(504) 896-9751
Office Hours:
8 a.m. 4:30 p.m.
Learn more about:
Cardiothoracic Surgery

The Heart Center at Children's Hospital is recognized nationally as a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, from fetus to adult, with congenital cardiovascular disorders. Our accomplished and dedicated team of specialists includes physicians and surgeons, nurses and support staff who are trained to care for the unique needs of children whose levels of care range from basic to highly critical. Our staff is focused on ensuring the most sophisticated quality of care. The goal of the Heart Center is to enhance the quality of life for every child.
The Heart Center's partnership with Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center enables residents and medical students from LSU Medical School, as well as nursing students from several local teaching institutions, to receive training in pediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery. Formal lectures and clinical rotations in cardiology and intensive care help ensure that future cardiology specialists and nurses become experts in the field.
Each year, nearly 2,000 children and adults from throughout the world visit Children's Hospital for cardiology services. Additional patients are diagnosed and monitored through the center's telemedicine program, a service available to physicians practicing at outlying hospitals. The new adult congenital cardiology program provides follow-up and necessary treatment, including therapeutic and interventional options, for adults with congenital heart defects.

Cardiac Catheterization
Advanced, invasive diagnostic and interventional procedures are performed in the state-of-the-art, all-digital Solon B. Turman Cardiovascular Biplane Catheterization Laboratory. Our cardiologists specialize in a wide range of diagnostic and interventional procedures. Over 50 percent of current cardiac catheterizations are interventional and include atrial septostomy, balloon valvuloplasty/angioplasty, vessel stenting and coil occlusion, as well as using devices to close PDAs, and ASD/PFOs. Advanced equipment, such as biplane X-ray, and expert staff ensure the safety of our patients and accuracy of their treatment.

Non-Invasive Imaging
More than 4,000 echocardiograms are performed each year at Children's Hospital. One highlight of our program is the burgeoning Fetal Cardiology Clinic for new mothers with family or personal histories of cardiac defects, rhythm disturbances or other abnormal findings detected by their obstetrician/gynecologist. Detailed histories, echocardiograms and consultations help diagnose abnormalities in utero and, if necessary, prepare cardiac specialists for immediate response upon delivery. Both pre-and post-operative transesophageal echocardiograms are completed on each survival patient with an intracardiac defect to ensure the defect has been corrected and cardiac function has been restored. The Heart Center houses a state-of-the-art, digital echocardiography lab, complete with the latest 3-D echocardiography technology. Other widely used non-invasive diagnostic services include cardiac MRI 3-D imaging technology and reconstruction, electrocardiograms (EKGs), chest X-rays, stress tests, tilt table tests, Holter and event monitoring.

Average Yearly Totals:
Catheterization Procedures - 300
Echocardiograms - 5,500 
Transthoracic - 5,300 
Transesophageal - 200 
Fetal - 242
Clinic Visits - 4162
Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children's Hospital

One of the most successful cardiac surgical programs in the country is located at Children' Hospital, where cardiac surgeons offer complete repair of complex congenital heart defects. Our strength stems from the expertise of our surgeons, who in addition to their skilled surgical approach, closely monitor patients long after they leave the operating room. Cardiac nurses and technicians provide around-the-clock care until patients are able to return home.

Our Surgical Team

Our cardiothoracic surgeons perform more than 450 surgical procedures a year. Approximately half of these are performed on children younger than age 1. Thirty percent are newborns with complex lesions that without early repair or palliation are incompatible with life. A full range of congenital heart disease surgeries using the most advanced techniques are performed at Children's Hospital. The specially trained team of pediatric anesthesiologists and perfusionists customize aspects of peri-operative care and cardiac bypass to meet the needs of each patient.

ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) is a life-sustaining option used to support patients with severe respiratory distress from meconium aspiration, persistant pulmonary hypertension, sepsis or congenital diaphragmatic hernia that have not responded to conventional therapies. ECMO can also be used to support children after cardiac surgery who need more time for cardiopulmonary recovery. Under management by our cardiothoracic surgeons, ECMO is initiated and maintained by our perfusion staff and specially trained respiratory therapists. Children's Hospital's ECMO program is the largest and most successful in the region.

Our cardiac surgeons maintain outstanding surgical outcomes through the detailed surgical plan and post-operative care delivered to each patient. Complex care is our specialty, lending to nationally competitive results.
Overall Surgical Outcome
Complex cases at Children's Hospital:
Norwood Operation
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome - 85% survival
Single Ventricle Variants (other than HLHS) - 94% survival
Glenn Shunt - 100% survival
Fontan Procedure - 100% survival
Transposition of the Great Arteries - 100% survival
Total Anomalous Pulmonary
Venus Return - 100% survival
Transport/Critical Care

Critical care services at Children's Hospital offer the highest level of both cardiac and non-cardiac care in the 20-bed cardiac ICU for patients recovering from heart-related illnesses. Transport teams are available 24 hours a day for land or air emergency transports. Approximately 250 to 300 children a year are referred to Children's Hospital by ground or air for specialty care by pediatric intensivists and staff.

The team at the Heart Center also includes specially trained cardiac nurses and critical care respiratory technicians who provide outstanding postoperative care around-the-clock until the patient is ready to return home. Every care option is pursued for heart patients and their families. Family-centered care is at the heart of our program.

Children' with congenital heart disease and their families need special attention and constant support to cope with the changing demands of daily care and diagnostic or surgical intervention. A child's response to a hospital stay or surgery will depend on the preparation of the parent and child, acceptance of the diagnosis, and the ability to cope with the environment. Our dedicated nurse coordinators provide education and support to families and patients before, during and after each hospitalization. Continuity of care remains a constant factor in the success of each patient and family at the Heart Center at Children's Hospital.