Research and innovation

Our commitment to innovation and cutting-edge clinical research has earned the Herma Heart Center worldwide recognition for pediatric and fetal heart care. When choosing our program, parents can feel confident that their child will receive the latest proven treatments, provided with the utmost compassion.

Research aimed to make a difference

Researchers at the Herma Heart Center currently are focusing on three areas of pediatric and fetal heart care that hold significant promise for lifesaving advancements. These areas include:

  • Preventing surgical bleeding and blood clots
    Researchers are defining the bleeding and blood clot risks during heart surgery and developing proven prevention and intervention approaches for improving outcomes.
  • Optimizing quality of life following heart surgery
    Investigators are studying ways to improve neurodevelopmental assessment and intervention to enhance a child’s health and well-being after heart surgery or other heart treatments.
  • Using genetics to improve long-term outcomes for patients with congenital heart disease
    Research into human genetic and adult stem cell technologies is leading to better diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for patients with congenital heart disease.

Other major contributory research is underway in areas including heart transplant and heart failure.

History of life-saving breakthroughs

Herma Heart Center researchers are longtime and frequent contributors to the fields of fetal and pediatric heart care. Best practices initiated in our center have revolutionized care delivery and been adopted worldwide, including:

  • An easier, more accurate way to predict transplant rejection
    For heart transplant patients, Herma Heart Center researchers developed the virtual crossmatch and a new blood test to detect rejection.
  • Empowering parents to boost survival rates for babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
    Herma Heart Center developed the country’s first Interstage Home Monitoring Program, proven to help dramatically improve survival rates for infants undergoing surgery for HLHS or single ventricle heart disease. Many pediatric heart centers across the country now have adopted the approach.
  • Improving quality of life after pediatric heart surgery
    The nation's first cardiac Neurodevelopmental Follow-up Program was created by the Herma Heart Center based on our recognition that survival after pediatric heart surgery was not enough – survival with the best possible quality of life is the ultimate goal.

Research leaders

Herma Heart Center researchers are internationally known, frequent publishers in scholarly medical journals and sought-after expert speakers. One of our pediatric cardiologists is a lead investigator in a rare five-year, $3.27 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study adult and pediatric heart transplant methods.

Our multidisciplinary research team is led by Director of Research D. Woodrow Benson, MD, PhD, a pediatric cardiologist and NIH-trained investigator in the molecular genetics of pediatric heart disease. Team members are on the forefront of fetal and pediatric heart research, and include: