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Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesiology

Patients at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin who have heart surgery, catheterization or another heart procedure that requires them to be asleep (under anesthesia) are in the attentive care of a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist. Pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists are specially trained and dedicated completely to keeping patients asleep, safe and comfortable during a procedure or diagnostic test like an echocardiogram. They also care for children with heart conditions who need a tonsillectomy or other non-cardiac invasive or diagnostic procedure, and are often involved in procedures for adults with adult congenital heart disease.

Children's Hospital is one of the few children's hospitals in the country with dedicated pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists. They are part of the overall pediatric anesthesiology team at Children's. Here's what make pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists so vital to the success of heart-related surgeries and procedures.

Guardians of your child's health, safety and comfort

During a procedure, pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists take on the role of the child's dedicated physician. When seconds can count, they know how to recognize the specialized care a child with heart concerns may need and how to quickly provide that care. They use monitoring devices to make sure breathing, brain activity and circulation are functioning at the best possible levels. If levels become a concern, they immediately work with the surgical team to make adjustments in care as needed. They are trained and experienced in providing highly personalized, focused care for children in various states of unconsciousness. They are involved in your child's care after surgery, too, as he or she recovers in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit.

Experts in cardiology and anesthesia

Members of our team of pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists at Children's Hospital have a minimum of four or five years of additional training and experience beyond medical school. They are board-certified and fellowship-trained in multiple areas of expertise, including pediatric anesthesiology and pediatric critical care. All specialize in caring for infants, children and adults with congenital or other heart conditions that complicate the use of anesthesia and pain control for the patient. They have extensive knowledge and experience about anesthesia, pain and other mediations, as well as how the body reacts to them.

In addition to clinical skills, the pediatric cardiac anesthesia team uses best practices to make sure care is provided in the most timely, efficient way possible, 24 hours a day. They have systems and plans to make sure equipment, medications, data collection, peer feedback and other key elements are in place for every procedure and every patient.   

World leaders in lifesaving monitoring techniques

Pediatric anesthesiologists at Children's, like their colleagues in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, have research-proven success in monitoring techniques that go beyond the standard to measure a child's vital signs as well as brain activity, kidney function and blood oxygen during and after a procedure. In fact, physicians at Children's were the first in the country to publish evidence that monitoring blood oxygen levels through continuous, non-invasive approaches like near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS) can dramatically improve outcomes, especially in brain (neurodevelopmental) function. At Children's, our dedicated work to improve surgical results has helped us achieve the best published outcomes for hypoplastic left heart syndrome in the world.

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Contact us for more information about the Herma Heart Institute. Request an appointment online or call (414) 607-5280 or toll-free (877) 607-5280.

Nationally recognized

 US News 2018-19 Heart

Among the nation's best

U.S. News & World Report has once again ranked the Herma Heart Institute at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin among the top programs in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery. This ranking reflects the excellent outcomes and care we provide for even the most complex heart conditions. Families travel from across the country, and even around the world, to receive care from our specialists who are experienced in treating congenital heart disease from before birth and into adulthood.

Featured video

Meet Dr. Berens and learn about our pediatric anesthesiology.