Cardiac Surgery for Children

Learning that your child needs heart surgery is never easy. But the good news is that heart surgery has become highly refined over the years, with extreme reliability and safety, even in very small babies. In fact, certain congenital heart defects can be repaired with a single surgery performed in early infancy. Other complex heart defects, including single-ventricle lesions, may require a series of operations, starting in the first months of life, and require regular follow-up care.

Cardiac surgeons at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone perform about 200 cardiac surgeries per year, making us leaders in the field. Our surgeons have extensive experience performing successful cardiac reconstructive procedures on infants and children with complex cardiovascular disorders. Learn more about what to expect and recovery from surgery for congenital heart defects.

VIDEO: Zoe, who was diagnosed with an interruption in her heart’s arteries before she was born, was treated with a rare and complex cardiac surgery at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone when she was one day old.

We treat the entire spectrum of congenital heart defects and specialize in complex heart surgery in neonates, who are babies that are less than 1 month old. Procedures we perform include the following:

Our survival rates exceed the national average in the following categories:

  • For patients undergoing heart surgery, our overall survival rate is 98.5 percent; the national survival rate is 97 percent.
  • For neonates undergoing heart surgery, our survival rate is 94.8 percent, compared to the national average of 91.5 percent.
  • For infants up to age 1 undergoing heart surgery, our survival rate is 99.6 percent, compared to the national average of 97.2 percent.

These statistics are from the Society of Thoracic Surgery (STS), which maintains the Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD), the largest of its kind. The data also tracks Society of Thoracic Surgeons-European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (STAT) Mortality Categories. STAT Mortality Categories allow outcomes to be assessed in relation to the complexity of the operations being performed. STAT Categories are ranked from one to five, with five being the most complicated procedures and one being the least.

Our Surgical Outcomes

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital has lower mortality rates in nearly all five STAT categories compared to the CHSD average, which represents more than 95 percent of all congenital heart surgery hospitals in the United States and Canada. The CHSD is the largest clinical database in North America dealing with congenital cardiac malformations. STS data in the chart below represents adjusted operative mortality data from June 2013 through July 2017.

Adjusted Surgical Mortality Rate After Congenital Heart Surgery

Length of Hospital Stay

Length of stay measures the number of days a patient spends in the hospital. A shorter length of stay usually means a better outcome for your child. It indicates more efficient and effective care and a quicker return home to recover.

The postoperative length of stay at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital is lower than the national average for coarctation, ventricular septal defect (VSD), tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), complete atrioventricular canal (AVC), arterial switch operation (ASO), ASO and VSD, Glenn/hemi-Fontan, Fontan, truncus, and Norwood operation.

Data for the chart below, taken from the STS report, represents postoperative length of stay in median days by STAT Category from January 2013 through December 2016.

Length of Stay After Surgery in Days

Preparing for Your Child’s Cardiac Surgery

For more information about preparing for your child’s cardiac surgery, please read our family guides in English, Spanish, Russian, or Chinese.

Contact Us

To make an appointment with a pediatric cardiac surgeon at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, please call 212-263-5989.