U.S. News Ranks Us Among the Best in the Nation

When Croix Johnson and his mom Marla Berry came down with the flu, Marla was back to normal in a couple of days—but not Croix.

The 13-year-old athlete had developed an infection in his heart that was so severe he went into cardiac arrest and needed open-heart surgery. His surgeon, Roosevelt Bryant, MD, Surgical Director of our Pediatric Heart Transplant Program, cleared the infection and put in a mechanical valve.

After months of recovery, Croix has begun pursuing a new passion: chorus. “It’s like at 13 years old, your life can be interrupted, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. It just can turn in another direction,” says Croix’s dad Craig Johnson. “So it’s going to be cool to see what direction he turns.”

Be it conducting complex surgery to rescue a child born with a heart defect, or helping an adult live well years after their procedure, our Heart Institute brings a unique blend of pediatric cardiologists, heart surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, and scientists together to improve outcomes for children with heart disease. This depth of expertise helps explain why our cardiology and heart surgery services rank No. 8 in the nation in the 2018-19 list of best children’s hospitals compiled by U.S. News & World Report.

We are experts in complex heart repair and transplantation surgery. We train other doctors from around the world on how to use the latest cardiac support devices. We conduct groundbreaking research to discover new ways to help damaged hearts heal.

"What makes us different? Our goal is not to perform the most cases, but to perform the most innovative ones,” says James Tweddell, MD, Surgical Director and Executive Co-Director of the Heart Institute.

David Morales, MD, Director, Congenital Heart Surgery, adds, “In addition to outstanding care, we conduct extensive research and we train many other specialists who go on to practice in many other medical centers."

What makes us stand out?

  • Our Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure and Transplant programs are amongst the largest in the country, drawing patients and families from across the U.S. and from many other nations.
  • We are leaders in the use of mechanical devices to support the heart and lungs. Our Ventricular Assist Device Program employs a variety of devices, and experts here often train surgeons from around the country in their use. We also use new lung-assist devices to help children stay healthy enough to receive treatment from the growing Lung Transplant Program here.
  • We support children born with heart defects all the way into adulthood through our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program and Adult Fontan Circulation Program.
  • Families travel here for advanced surgery and interventional catheterization techniques to treat the most complex cardiac conditions, including valve-sparing aortic root reconstruction.
  • Our Joint Heart Program with Kentucky Children’s Hospital, led by James Quintessenza, MD, extends our advanced care services for patients with congenital and acquired pediatric heart disease throughout the Commonwealth.
  • Surgeons here are leaders at using virtual reality, 3D printing techniques and other computer imaging tools to plan and practice complex procedures that other pediatric hospitals often will not attempt.
  • Our cardiac catheterization team uses advanced transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement (TPVR) techniques to allow more children to avoid open-heart surgery when they need a valve replacement.
  • We are experts at managing bicuspid aortic valve defects, including advanced repair techniques and valve replacement options.
  • We provide outstanding care for rare connective tissue disorders including Marfan and Loeys-Dietz syndromes.