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.


Leader in Cardiac Care

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone is the highest ranked in New York for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Learn More

Our cardiac surgeons perform nearly 250 cardiac surgeries per year, and Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone is the highest ranked in New York for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, according to U.S. News & World Report. Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital is also recognized as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons for providing the highest-quality surgical care for children.

Our surgeons have extensive experience performing successful cardiac reconstructive procedures and heart transplant for 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.


Make an Appointment

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

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 Surgical Outcomes

The risk-adjusted survival rate for children in our care is the best in New York State, and our outcomes exceed the national average. We achieved this success while maintaining our commitment to caring for infants who were born prematurely or have low birth weight, and those who have other medical conditions that need the most advanced and experienced cardiac care.

Best Outcomes in New York State

For pediatric patients receiving congenital heart surgery, we have the best risk-adjusted survival rate of any hospital in New York State. This is reflected in the latest report from the New York State Department of Health, which takes into account how sick a patient is at the time of surgery. This rate is a reflection of our commitment to surgical excellence and patient safety, as well as our success in caring for children with the most severe forms of heart disease.

NYU Langone has the best risk-adjusted survival rate for pediatric congenital heart surgery of any hospital in New York State.

Leaders Nationwide in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery

The latest data from the Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD), which is maintained by the Society of Thoracic Surgery (STS), shows that our survival rates also exceed the national average in the following categories:

  • For all patients receiving heart surgery, our overall survival rate is 98.4 percent; the national survival rate is 97.3 percent.
  • For neonates (up to 30 days old) receiving heart surgery, our survival rate is 97.4 percent, compared with the national average of 92.6 percent.

This 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.

At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, mortality rates are lower than the STS CHSD average for 4 of the 5 STAT categories, which represents more than 95 percent of all congenital heart surgery hospitals in the United States and Canada. For the most complicated procedures at STAT level 5, our mortality rate is 75 percent lower than the national average (3.57 percent vs. 14.72 percent). The CHSD is the largest clinical database in North America dealing with congenital cardiac malformations. STS data in the chart below represents operative mortality data from January 2019 to December 2022.

Our pediatric congenital heart surgery outcomes far exceed the national average for the most complex cardiac surgical procedures.
Source: Society of Thoracic Surgeons

We are also leaders in limiting hospital stays for our patients. The postoperative length of stay at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital is nearly half the national average for our patients receiving surgical treatment for coarctation, ventricular septal defect, and tetralogy of Fallot, and the Glenn and Norwood procedures to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

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. Data for the chart below, taken from the STS report, represents postoperative length of stay in median days by STAT Category from January 2019 to December 2022.

Overall, our patients have a shorter hospital stay after surgery than the national average, and for many procedures the length of stay is more than half that of other hospitals.
Source: Society of Thoracic Surgeons

If you have questions about this data, please talk to your child’s cardiologist or contact one of our nurse practitioners by calling 212-263-5989.

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.