Cardiology
Heart Center

Children’s Hospital New Orleans Pediatric Cardiology

Heart health services for children & adolescents

The Cardiology Department of The Heart Center at Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment of children and adults with a full range of cardiovascular conditions, from clinic consultations for innocent heart murmurs to intensive care of critically ill patients with complex congenital heart disease.

Common conditions treated in the heart center:

  • Heart murmurs
  • Syncope (fainting)
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations or irregular heart rhythms
  • Heart failure and cardiomyopathies
  • Congenital heart defects
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

In addition to the services provided at Children’s Hospital, the cardiologists travel to off-site clinics in Covington, Metairie, Marrero, Baton Rouge, Eunice, Houma, and Thibodaux. They also provide expert interpretations of echocardiograms and electrocardiograms (EKGs) from a number of referral centers around the state and provide telemedicine consultations for patients in remote locations.

Cardiology fellowship program

Through The Heart Center’s partnership with LSU Health New Orleans, Children’s Hospital has the only pediatric cardiology fellowship training program in Louisiana. This provides interested general pediatricians the specialized training needed to become successful pediatric cardiologists. In addition, LSU Health medical students and residents receive training in the diagnosis and management of heart disease in children. Learn more about the fellowship program.

The Children’s Hospital Department of Cardiology is proud to provide the following services to its patients:

Cardiac Catheterization

Advanced, invasive diagnostic and interventional procedures are performed in a specialized digital biplane Cardiovascular Catheterization Laboratory. Two pediatric and congenital interventional cardiologists provide expertise in a wide range of diagnostic and interventional procedures, including transcatheter (Melody) valve placement, radiofrequency septal or valve perforations, atrial septal device closures, vessel stenting and coil occlusion, atrial septostomies, and balloon valvuloplasty and angioplasty. They also work collaboratively with our surgeons to provide “hybrid” procedures when clinically indicated.

Electrophysiology

The Heart Center has an electrophysiologist that provides comprehensive diagnostic and interventional procedures for patients with heart rhythm abnormalities, including Holter and event monitoring, implantable loop recorders, exercise stress testing, implantation and monitoring of pacemakers and defibrillators (AICDs), as well as electrophysiology studies and ablation procedures. The center also provides an in-depth evaluation of patients with a family history of sudden cardiac death or familial dysrhythmias.

Heart Failure/Cardiomyopathy Program

The heart failure/cardiomyopathy program is part of an interdisciplinary team under our well-established cardiology program at Children's Hospital New Orleans. Our team consists of board-certified pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric cardiologists, and cardiac specialty nurse practitioners who are skilled experts in the field of pediatric cardiology. We provide both inpatient and outpatient consultation for diagnosis, management, and prognosis of all types of heart failure/cardiomyopathy, some of the more common forms include failed congenital heart disease repair, primary and secondary dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, left ventricular non-compaction, and cardiomyopathy associated with neurologic/genetic disorders.

Our primary goal is commitment and advocacy for quality pediatric cardiac care. We are dedicated to providing the best quality care for children with potential life-threatening heart disease and giving them the best chance for survival. To deliver this type of quality care, we provide:

Multidisciplinary team approach which includes cardiologists, surgeons, cardiac intensive care specialists, nurse practitioners and nurses

Evidence-based practices, outcomes-based care and advanced research for increasing survival and quality of life in these patient populations

Innovative measures and quality initiatives in diagnosis and management of heart failure and cardiomyopathy patients, such as improving care with mechanical support devices in heart failure and genetic testing for identifying familial disease in cardiomyopathy

Collaboration with other subspecialty disciplines to provide complete care and a medical home or all our patients’ needs

Our team is led by program director, Dr. Tamara Bradford. We are guided by our responsibility to our patients, their outcomes, and their quality of life.

Non-invasive imaging

The echocardiography lab is complete with the latest 3-D imaging and advanced technology. More than 5,500 echocardiograms are performed each year at Children’s Hospital, both on hospitalized patients as well as outpatients. This includes fetal echocardiography, 3D echocardiography and transesophageal imaging. Children’s Hospital also provides diagnostic imaging through our Radiology Division, including cardiac MRI and CT angiography.

Maternal-fetal (perinatal) cardiology

The growing Fetal Cardiology Clinic provides expert anatomic and functional assessments of the tiniest of hearts – particularly the fetuses of new mothers with family or personal histories of cardiac defects, rhythm disturbances or other abnormal findings detected by their obstetrician. Detailed consultations help diagnose cardiac abnormalities in utero, and if necessary, prepare the family, the obstetric providers, and The Heart Center team with a delivery and transport plan, hospital tour, information about the baby’s cardiac diagnosis, and a meeting with the cardiac surgeons, when necessary.

The fetal cardiologists work closely with the perinatologists, neonatologists and congenital heart surgeons to provide the highest level of care for babies with a cardiac abnormality during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and in the neonatal period.

Adult congenital heart disease

The Heart Center provides comprehensive and specialized multidisciplinary care for adults with congenital heart disease. The Heart Center at Children’s Hospital is committed to seeing adult patients in clinic and to providing appropriate surgical and interventional procedures as needed throughout their lives.

Pediatric coronary artery disease

The Pediatric Coronary Artery Clinic of the Heart Center is one of only a few pediatric coronary programs in the country and the only program of its kind in the Southeast. The Clinic provides special expertise in the diagnosis and management of pediatric coronary artery disease. Specific conditions that we treat include Kawasaki Disease and congenital problems of the coronary arteries such as abnormal origins or courses of the arteries. The team consists of specialists in pediatric cardiology, preventive cardiology, pediatric cardiovascular surgery, and adult congenital heart disease. Visits consist of a comprehensive evaluation including a thorough history and physical examination, electrocardiogram, and echocardiogram. In many instances, the visit will also included imaging with a CT scan and stress testing. This information is reviewed by the team to arrive at a detailed and comprehensive management plan developed specifically for your child and family.

High Risk Home Monitoring Program

The Heart Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans has a dedicated Home Monitoring Program for babies and infants with particularly high risk heart problems to decrease morbidity and mortality for these particularly vulnerable patients. Our team, led by Dr. Stefani Samples, Stephanie Bush, NP, and Lynn Bardales RN, remains in direct contact with parents to support and closely monitor our most fragile patients. The mission of the Home Monitoring Program at the Heart Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans is to provide comprehensive care for all high-risk single ventricle patients between their first and second stages of surgical palliation as well as for those complex two ventricle patients requiring neonatal palliation prior to their definitive surgical repair. The interstage period for single ventricle patients is known to carry a higher mortality than any other timeframe during these patients’ lives, and careful monitoring has been shown to significantly decrease both their morbidity and mortality during this phase. Our goal is to decrease the number of re-admissions and interstage mortality, giving our single ventricle population the best quality of life. Our program is working to become a member of the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC).

Our High Risk Home Monitoring Program encompasses all aspects of an interstage patient’s outpatient care including:

  • Preparation for hospital discharge
  • Daily home monitoring of basic vital signs and weight
  • Monitoring for “red flags”
  • Weekly visits in clinic
  • 24/7 coverage availability for family questions or concerns
  • Hospital readmission as needed

Prior to discharge there is extensive training to empower parents and caregivers, giving them the confidence, training, and education needed to care for their baby. Families are taught how to continue the complex daily care their baby needs including giving medications, obtaining weights, monitoring saturations, mixing formula, keeping logs of feedings, and recognizing red flags that indicate a change in the baby’s health status.

At discharge, every family goes home with a personalized folder of information for their child including daily logs and pulse oximeter and scale to monitor saturations and weights on a daily basis. There are frequent phone calls with the Home Monitoring Program team and weekly “virtual” visits to discuss how each patient is doing at home. This includes reviewing saturations, feedings, weights, medications, and any concerns the families have.

There are also weekly in clinic appointments with the home monitoring team or their cardiologist for hands on exams and cardiac imaging. Our interstage clinic also provides access to other necessary subspecialists to aid in the care of these complex patients including neurodevelopmental specialists, social work, nutritional and feeding support, cardiac catheterization specialists, and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons. Our Home Monitoring Program ensures 24/7 support for our patients and families, as well as direct communication between the cardiologist, pediatrician, specialists and the interstage team to provide the highest quality care for these fragile patients.

Non-invasive Imaging

The echocardiography laboratory performs over 5,500 echocardiograms each year for patients with congenital and acquired heart disease from fetal life and infancy through adulthood. The 5 pediatric cardiology imaging specialists and 9 trained pediatric cardiac sonographers provide transthoracic echocardiography services for both the inpatient and outpatient pediatric population, as well as transesophageal and epicardial imaging support in both the cardiac operating room and cardiac catheterization laboratory. Stress echocardiograms are offered as well as advanced analysis using 3-dimensional imaging.

The echocardiography laboratory is fully accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) in transthoracic, transesophageal, and fetal echocardiography. Children’s Hospital also provides diagnostic imaging through our Radiology division, including cardiac MRI and CT angiography.

Neurodevelopment

Children with congenital heart disease are known to be at higher risk for neurodevelopmental impairment than the general population. These issues can affect multiple areas of development including intelligence, academic achievement, motor skills, language, psychosocial adjustment, attention, and executive functioning. The Heart Center at Children’s Hospital is dedicated to providing comprehensive care to all of our patients, including monitoring and treatment for any neurodevelopmental disabilities. We provide easy access to screening for all of our complex patients, with direct involvement of neurodevelopmental pediatricians in our high risk interstage clinic.