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Cardiac Surgery

Contact number | 202-476-2811

Cardiac Surgery at Children’s

Pediatric heart surgeons at Children’s National perform a high volume of lifesaving surgeries ranging from the most complex congenital problems to the more common issues, all with children’s neurodevelopment in mind.

Meet the Team

Cardiac (Heart) Surgery at Children’s National Hospital

If a child needs heart surgery, our Division of Cardiac Surgery at Children’s National Hospital is there to provide compassionate, world-class expertise. Our dedicated team of heart surgeons uses groundbreaking innovation and state-of-the-art technology to make sure your child gets the best possible care.

Cardiac (Heart) Surgery at Children’s National: Why Choose Us?

In addition to our team of internationally renowned heart surgeons and pediatric cardiologists, we provide:

  • Expertise. Our surgeons use advanced surgical procedures, including the most up-to-date cardiopulmonary bypass techniques. Our approach to care results in shorter lengths of stay for patients following surgery. One-third of our surgeries for congenital heart defects are performed on children under three months, leading to a repair that grows with the child, quicker recovery and less stress on the family.
  • Subspecialty care. It takes a team to care for a child. As a major pediatric academic medical center, we also offer care in the more than 40 subspecialties your child may need before, during and after heart surgery. You can be assured that no matter what service, study or specialized care your child needs, we have an expert right here who will join with your pediatric heart surgery team to offer the best, most comprehensive care possible.
  • Level 1 Surgery Verification. Children’s National is one of only twelve children’s hospitals in the country to attain Level 1 Surgery Verification from the American College of Surgeons. This distinction recognizes surgery centers who have improved surgical quality, prevented complications, reduced costs and saved lives.
  • Dedicated anesthesiologists. We have one of the few programs in the nation with an anesthesiology team dedicated exclusively to pediatric heart patients. Our board-certified anesthesiologists are available 24/7 for your child’s anesthesia and pain management needs. In fact, we are the only center in the region to guarantee that a specialized pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist will be available for your child at all times. In addition, our unique Cardiac Procedure Recovery Unit provides individualized care for patients before, during, and after undergoing anesthesia.
  • Advanced technology and research. We’ve incorporated the most sophisticated technology available into our procedure rooms and Cardiac Intensive Care Units (Cardiac ICU). When children need open heart surgery, we often need to place them on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine. During the surgery, the bypass machine takes over the function of the lungs and heart. This can carry a risk of neurological damage. During heart surgery, our heart surgeons use advanced measures based on the latest research—some of which they discovered—to protect your child’s brain and neurological development during surgery.
  • Cardiac ICU rooms for parents. We know that you want to be with your child as much as possible to provide comfort and support. With that in mind, we designed extra-large rooms in our Cardiac ICU, with plenty of room for one or both parents to stay with their child. Learn more about the Cardiac ICU at Children’s National.

Cardiac Surgery Procedures

Children’s National offers a comprehensive surgical program that includes the full range of procedures available for the treatment of pediatric cardiac disease and congenital heart defects. Our physicians pioneered many of these procedures and have extensive experience performing them, leading to some of the best heart surgery outcomes in the nation. Procedures we perform, include:

Cardiac Surgery Programs

  • Congenital Heart Defect Surgery: We offer the full spectrum of congenital heart surgeries, including the most complex procedures. Our focus is on early primary repair and many of our surgeries are performed on children during the first few days of life.
  • Advanced Cardiac Therapies and Heart Transplant Program: Our experienced team provides a full spectrum of therapies for children with heart failure. When transplantation is indicated, we collaborate with nearby MedStar Washington Hospital Center to provide heart transplantation for children. 
  • Ventricular Assist Devices Program: We offer the next generation of ventricular assist devices, a pump that keeps blood pumping through the left or right heart ventricles, to stabilize children awaiting heart transplant. While VADs are routinely used in adults, they have only recently been used for children. We are one of a few elite programs using this life-saving technology for children, including the Berlin Heart®, the only VAD available for babies and small children.
  • Pre-Operative Care Clinic: When your child is having surgery at Children’s National, the Pre-Operative Care Clinic’s (POCC) team of pediatric professionals screens patients for surgery and creates a specific care plan for each patient.

Nadia’s Story


Nadia at home

Restrictive cardiomyopathy is a rare heart condition in which the heart muscles are too stiff and can’t relax to fill and pump the correct amount of blood to other parts of the body. For Nadia, this not only meant that her intestine function was compromised, causing nausea and vomiting, but her lungs also had to work in overdrive.

Nadia’s Story

Cardiac Surgery Team