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Pediatric Heart Surgery

What are the benefits of early primary repair in heart surgery for children?

At Children’s National, we plan treatments with your child’s long-term health in mind. If a newborn needs heart surgery, we intervene early and aggressively to correct defects. This way, the repair or reconstruction grows with your child and he or she benefits from a faster recovery. This approach is called early primary repair.

Many heart programs for children recommend waiting until a newborn is older before performing heart surgery. However, the longer we wait, the more health consequences a child may suffer. We perform surgery on infants so we can give them the best possible start in life:

  • More than two-thirds of cardiovascular surgeries we perform are on patients less than 1 year old
  • Half of those surgeries are on newborns less than 1 month old
Applicable Conditions

Applicable Conditions

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a combination of several abnormalities of the heart and great blood vessels. It is a congenital syndrome.

Children's Team

Children's Team

Providers

John Berger

John Berger III

Medical Director, Pulmonary Hypertension Program
Medical Director, Cardiac ECMO
Yves d'Udekem

Yves d'Udekem d'Acoz

Division Chief, Cardiac Surgery
Co-Director, Children's National Heart Institute
Richard Jonas

Richard Jonas

Emeritus Chief, Cardiac Surgery
Senior Investigator, Center for Neuroscience Research
Our Stories

Our Stories

Serenity with mom

Serenity's Story

Two-year-old Serenity is a normal toddler with a not-so-normal story. She has a long scar in the middle of her chest (her “boo boo”) that represents the three open heart surgeries she had before her second birthday.

Teresa Dejesus

Teresa's Story

Teresa, age 2, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and waited on the Berlin Heart EXCOR® Pediatric Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) for nine months while she waited for a heart transplant. Her heart arrived on Christmas Day.

Ryan

Ryan W.'s Story

When Ryan turned 2 months old, his parents noticed a change in his behavior. Their son – who once loved to eat – suddenly stopped nursing, began sleeping more than usual, gradually became fussy and struggled to breathe when he laid down.

Ryan M

Ryan's Story

Ryan was born with a rare condition — his heart developed outside his body. Find out how Children's National doctors worked together to help Ryan thrive.

Ryan Morales and Kurt Newman

Ryan M's Story

Father and son Ryan and Alex Morales know what it’s like to spend days—even weeks in the hospital. The two have been patients at Children’s National Hospital for more than 10 years. Their stories are connected by Children’s National physicians who have been treating them since 2005 and continue to see them improve and grow in more ways than one.

Zach Blumenfeld

Zach's Story

Zachary Blumenfeld is so thankful for the Children’s National Hospital physicians who saved his life. Now, he wants to spread miracles around the world.

Gino

Gino's Story

When Dieana was getting her 19-week obstetrical ultrasound, she got some unsettling news about her son, Gino.

Mollie's story

Mollie's Story

The day Mollie Inman was born, everything about their baby seemed normal to her parents. However, what was in store for the next couple of days proved to be very challenging for the family. The next day , Mollie’s doctors discovered something wrong with her heart.

Chip Teaser Image

Chip's Story

When Chip was born just three days after Christmas, his family was excited to welcome their new son into the world. But things immediately took a turn for the worse.


Nadia at home

Nadia’s Story

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.

Penelope and sisters

Penelope's Story

Before Penelope was even born, she had a team of Children's specialists ready with a treatment plan for her heart defect.

Departments

Departments

Advanced Cardiac Therapies and Heart Transplant Program

We provide personalized care for babies and children with heart failure, including advanced VAD techniques and heart transplantation.

Cardiac Surgery

Our pediatric heart surgery team performs twice the number of surgeries of any other hospital in the region, with some of the best outcomes in the nation.

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Share your birthday with a child. Celebrate your life, and give a chance to someone who desperately wants to have as many as you.

Share your birthday with a child. Celebrate your life, and give a chance to someone who desperately wants to have as many as you. Make it happen