Pediatric Congenital Heart Surgery

This information is useful for children
baby being held by its mother, perhaps in advance of congenital heart surgery

Parents may feel frightened and alone when they learn their baby has a heart defect. But congenital heart defects are not uncommon—nearly one out of every 100 infants is born with one. Some of these babies have mild problems, but the diagnosis can be highly emotional when a newborn is among the one in four who has a critical defect. About half of all congenital heart defects are considered major, requiring cardiologic intervention or surgery.

Since its initial development in the 1970s and '80s, surgery for these conditions has come a long way. Today, better techniques and a deeper understanding of physiology and circulation have helped pediatric heart surgeons achieve excellent outcomes. Recent discoveries have also uncovered the role of genetics on the developing heart.

“A lot of things have happened that are quite exciting,” says Tain-Yen (T-Y) Hsia, MD, MSc, chief of pediatric cardiac surgery for Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. “Not only are our patients surviving operations with very low mortality—which has not always been the case—they also enjoy a better quality of life.”

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.