Cardiothoracic Surgery

One of the most successful cardiac surgical programs in the country is located at Children’s Hospital, where cardiac surgeons offer the complete repair of complex congenital heart defects. The program’s strengths stem from the expertise of the surgeons, who in addition to their skilled surgical approach, closely monitor patients long after they leave the operating room. The cardiac-trained anesthesia team, cardiac intensivists, nurse practitioners, nurse coordinators, perfusionists, operating room and CICU nurses, and multi-specialty technicians provide around-the-clock care until patients are able to return home. The dedicated Transport Team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for transports to Children’s Hospital when needed. The staff specializes in the education and training of families and provides tools and resources to help make the transition to home a comforting experience.

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. The accomplished and dedicated team of specialists is trained to care for the unique needs of congenital heart disease children and adults whose levels of care range from basic to highly critical. Children’s Hospital has the only specialty pediatric anesthesia department and is the only freestanding hospital with a dedicated and sustained 20-bed Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in Louisiana and the Gulf South. The team treats all patients as family, and they care for each child or adult in a compassionate, comfortable and convenient state-of-the-art environment. The goal is to enhance the quality of life for every patient. The most complex patients are welcome and treated by every specialty needed, by hundreds of available Children’s Hospital physicians. The physicians prediagnose and specialize in fetal cardiac conditions and coordinate plans for delivery and transport. Nurses are available to provide tours and information that can help comfort families as they develop an understanding of the child’s plan of care.

ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) is a life-sustaining option used to support patients with severe respiratory distress from meconium aspiration, persistent 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 of the cardiothoracic surgeons, ECMO is initiated and maintained by the perfusion staff and specially trained respiratory therapists. Children’s Hospital’s ECMO program is the largest and most successful in the region.

The Children’s Hospital cardiac surgeons maintain outstanding surgical outcomes through the detailed surgical plan and post-operative care delivered to each patient. Complex care is the specialty of The Heart Center, leading to the outstanding nationally competitive Society of Thoracic Surgeons 2 STAR rating.

Each year, nearly 2,000 children and adults from throughout the world visit Children’s Hospital for cardiology services. Our cardiothoracic surgeons perform more than 450 surgical procedures a year. Approximately half of these are performed on children younger than age 1. A full range of congenital heart disease surgeries using the most advanced surgical techniques is performed at Children’s Hospital.

 These include:
  • Septal defects
  • Valvular and coronary artery anomalies
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Interrupted or hypoplastic aortic arch
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Truncus arteriosus
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) or single ventricle variants (e.g. tricuspid atresia) that require a staged surgical approach including the Norwood procedure during the newborn period, Glenn Shunt later in infancy and the Fontan procedure in early childhood
  • Chest wall deformities including pectus excavatum and carinatum
  • Repair of diseases involving the lungs, pleura or diaphragm as well as implantation of pacemakers
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