Services & Specialties
Heart Surgery

World-Class Heart Surgery

A national leader in pediatric and congenital heart surgery and transplantation, we take on patients with complex conditions that other hospitals are unable to treat.

Here in the Heart Surgery Program at Cincinnati Children’s, you will receive world-class care from surgeons who are known around the world for their expertise. We treat congenital heart defects in patients from before birth through adulthood.

  • Our surgeons have experience in the complex procedures that patients may have had in childhood, making them well equipped to operate on adults who are born with heart conditions.
  • We perform an average of 600 cardiothoracic surgeries each year at Cincinnati Children’s, including approximately 15-20 heart, lung and multi-organ transplants per year.
  • Patients have come from more than 48 states and 22 countries to see our Heart Institute experts.
  • Our surgeons are internationally recognized and together have given over 900 lectures around the world and have contributed more than 1,000 chapters and manuscripts to the medical literature.

Superior Outcomes

Cincinnati Children’s is part of the Joint Pediatric and Congenital Heart Program, which is a collaboration between Cincinnati Children’s and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. We jointly report our outcomes data, which demonstrates:

  • High survival rates:
    • We take on the most complex surgical cases, and our average surgery survival rates are among the top of nationally ranked children’s hospital outcomes.*
    • We have especially favorable outcomes for the most difficult procedures.*
    • Our 1-year heart transplant survival rate for children <18 years is 95%, compared to the national average of 92.01%.**
    • Our 1-year transplant survival rate for adults is 100%, compared to the national average of 90.84%***
    • Our 1-year survival rate for adult congenital heart surgery at Cincinnati Children's is 98%.****
      *According to a national database of pediatric cardiac surgical procedures.
      **Based on 23 (patient) / 24 (graft) transplants performed between 01/01/2020 to 3/12/2020, and 06/13/2020 to 06/30/2022., according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients July 2023 Report
    • Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients July 2023 Report
    • ****Society for Thoracic Surgeons, all index primary procedures from 7/1/2018 – 6/30/2022.
  • Shorter hospital length of stays:
    • Because of our focus on exceptional care from “diagnosis to discharge,” our heart surgery patients have some of the shortest post-surgical hospital stays in the United States. Our patients’ average stay is half of the average stay at other children’s hospitals.
    • Our teams are leading initiatives to shorten length of stay to achieve the best outcome in the safest way possible, including:
      • Using advanced digital technology for planning
      • Detailed pathways for the patient hospital journey
      • Artificial intelligence to quickly recognize if patients veer off the pathway so we can correct course.
    • We also lead several pediatric cardiology collaborative networks that share data to improve outcomes in real-time.

What Sets Us Apart

  • Cincinnati Children’s and Kentucky Children’s Hospital Joint Pediatric and Congenital Heart Program is ranked among the top ten programs in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report in the 2023-24 list of Best Children’s Hospitals.
  • Our Cardiac Catheterization and Intervention Program uses innovative minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat complex heart conditions without open surgery. The hybrid cardiac catheterization suite lets doctors perform heart and other procedures under the same anesthesia, reducing the risk of complications.
  • Our Fetal Heart Program specializes in identifying congenital heart disease early before babies are even born so you can develop an early relationship with your surgeon and create a thoughtful plan prior to delivery.
  • Under certain circumstances, some families with babies that need surgery soon after birth can be delivered on site in the Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Care Center Special Delivery Unit. This keeps mom and baby close, with the CICU just a short distance away.
  • The Heart and Mind Wellbeing Center conducts groundbreaking research in maternal mental health to improve fetal wellbeing. This is the first program to support the mental health of heart patients of all ages and their families before, during and after surgery.
  • We offer innovative digital tools to families for education, consent and planning. These include mobile apps, 3D printed heart models and digital experience technologies.
  • We are leading the way in the use of virtual reality for surgical planning of the most complex repairs.
  • Our mechanical circulatory support program is internationally recognized and is a leader in the field of supporting patients with ventricular assist devices (VADS) while they wait for a transplant (bridge-to-transplant), recover their own heart function (bridge-to-recovery), or in some cases choose to live with their device (chronic therapy).
  • As a world leader in heart transplant outcomes, we also perform complex multi-organ transplants including heart-lung, heart-kidney, heart-lung-kidney, heart-liver, and heart-lung-liver transplantation.
  • We offer an international and out-of-area patient program with special concierge services for patients and families who travel to receive care here.
  • Patients can access follow-up outpatient care closer to home at more than 25 pediatric and adult congenital heart clinic locations or via our expanded telehealth services.

Additional Outcomes and Data Resources

Conquering CHD’s Hospital Navigator provides meaningful information to help you understand data when making healthcare decisions. Look us up on their website to learn more.

Additional heart surgery data and information on outcomes can be found at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons national database.

Cardiology & Heart Surgery.

Top Ten in the Nation

U.S. News & World Report ranked our Joint Pediatric and Congenital Heart Program, in conjunction with Kentucky Children’s Hospital, as one of the top ten hospitals in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery.