Pediatric Heart Surgery
From routine to complex operations, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Herma Heart Center is a leader among pediatric hospitals nationwide. In fact, we have some of the highest reported survival rates for centers specializing in pediatric heart disease.
Herma Heart Center exceeds national standards of excellence for repairing some of the most complex cardiac problems. For example, as recently as 10 years ago, most infants diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome died. Today, repairing this defect and other complex single ventricle lesions accounts for a large part of the work we do.
As the number of complex surgical cases we see continues to grow, our results have set the bar for other well-known pediatric hospitals. Each year, we perform more than 700 heart procedures. Experts regularly are invited to present at national and international meetings on their expertise with various procedures.
For an overview of heart defects and how we correct them, click on our Surgery Reference Book.
Cardiac anesthesia and intensivists
Since heart surgery in children is complex and delicate, an experienced operating room and intensive care unit team is essential. At Children's Hospital, this team includes a dedicated group of critical care physicians and anesthesiologists who specialize in caring for children with heart defects.
Cardiac anesthesiologists have a specialized understanding of congenital heart defects and the operations performed to correct them, which improves the overall care of these patients. For example, heart patients typically require more intensive anesthesia care than other patients, including extensive preoperative workup and more sophisticated monitoring. Cardiac anesthesiologists routinely place arterial and central lines to provide anesthesia and medications and are experts in pain management to keep the patient stable and comfortable before, during and after surgery.
Critical Care/Cardiac intensivists care for patients once they leave the operating room in the cardiac section of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). As surgical techniques improve, the complexity of patients seen in the PICU is growing, requiring a focused group of physicians who become true experts in the current research, cardiovascular pharmacology (medications), contemporary monitoring technology and newest management strategies. Children with heart defects make up the largest group of patients in the PICU.
Our PICU offers a number of mechanical heart support options such as:
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
- An implantable heart assist system/ventricular assist devices.
- Rapid rescue cardiopulmonary system, a type of heart/lung bypass.
These can be used to support patients while they recover or as a bridge to transplantation.
Read our Herma Heart Center Quality Report at Children's Hospital.