A national leader in pediatric heart surgery and heart 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.

  • About 25 percent of our cardiac surgery patients are less than 1 month old, and 60 percent are under 1 year old.
  • 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 38 states and 11 countries to see our Heart Institute experts.
  • Our surgeons are internationally recognized and together have given over 700 lectures around the world and have contributed more than 1,200 chapters and manuscripts to the medical literature.

Superior Outcomes

Cincinnati Children’s is part of the Joint 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:
    • Our average surgery survival rates are at the top of nationally ranked children’s hospitals, with especially high survival for even the most complex procedures.*
    • Our 1-year heart transplant survival rate for children <18 years is 94%, compared to the national average of 92%.**
    • Our 1-year survival rate for adult congenital heart surgery is 98%.
      *According to a national database of pediatric cardiac surgical procedures.
      **Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients July 2021 Report
  • 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 Heart Program is ranked among the top programs in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report in the 2021-22 list of Best Children’s Hospitals.
  • 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 world-renowned Airway Reconstruction Program is the busiest in the United States, comprised of a multidisciplinary team that has key partnerships with ENT/otolaryngology surgeons and pulmonary specialists.
  • Our top-tier Heart Surgery program includes five internationally recognized surgeons who work hand-in-hand with the medical team to provide you with the best care possible.
  • 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.
  • Our surgical faculty are breaking new ground in transplant research, including a federally funded RO1 grant to improve how pediatric heart and lung transplant donor organs are distributed using an artificial intelligence driven system to optimize matches and significantly improve post-transplant survival.
  • 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.