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Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart malformations are present at birth or develop shortly afterward. Your baby may have issues, such as heart wall leaks, valve problems or arrhythmias. We offer care tailored to your child, including catheterization, medication or surgery.

Congenital heart disease treatment in Dallas, Texas

We know that caring for a child with congenital heart disease, whether it's an easily correctible defect or a complex, advanced condition that requires delicate heart surgery, can create great anxiety and concern for parents.

The Heart Center at Medical City Children's Hospital provides peace of mind by offering advanced treatment options for neonates, infants, children, adolescents and adults with all forms of congenital and acquired heart disease.

Related specialties

Learn more about our related specialties.

Our specialized physicians and services

The multidisciplinary pediatric heart team at Medical City Children's consists of a wide range of specialists to ensure your little one receives the most advanced, comprehensive care possible. Just a few of the specialists who may be part of your child’s care team include:

The Heart Center at Medical City Children's Hospital

Why entrust your child's heart health to us? Our dedicated physicians and specialized teams will personally provide one-one-one, individualized care to your child from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Your child will never be treated by anyone other than the expert care team that will be dedicated to caring for your child from the very beginning. This personalized care, combined with leading-edge facilities and advanced treatment options, makes us the high-quality, compassionate and caring choice for you and your child.

Medical City Children’s Hospital has a 100 percent survival rate across all benchmark congenital heart procedures captured by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons from January 2020 through December 2021. This means your child receives the high-quality care they deserve to help them live a long and healthy life.

As the only hospital in North Texas with both a full-service children's hospital and an adult hospital in the same location, our world-renowned specialists are able to provide patients of all ages who have congenital heart defects with compassionate, comprehensive care.

Heart conditions we treat

Specialists at The Heart Center treat the full range of heart conditions in patients of all ages, including:

Congenital heart disease

  • Aortic valve stenosis (AVS)
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • AV canal defect
  • Bidirectional Glenn shunt
  • Blalock Taussig shunt
  • Coarctation of the aorta (CoA)
  • Complete atrioventricular canal defect (CAVC)
  • Coronary artery anomalies
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • (dextro-transposition of the great arteries, d-TGA)
  • Double outlet right ventricle (DORV)
  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Extracardiac fontan
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
  • Interrupted aortic arch
  • I-transposition of the great arteries
  • Neonatal heart surgery
  • Norwood procedure
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis
  • Single ventricle defects
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous
  • connection (TAPVC)
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Truncus arteriosus
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

Acquired heart disease

  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Arrhythmias
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart failure
  • Heart murmurs
  • Heart valve problems and disease
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Venous thromboembolism

Congenital heart surgery

Medical City Children’s Hospital is proud to be at the leading edge of prenatal diagnosis. Early detection of a congenital (present at birth) heart defect allows careful planning of future care.

With a fetal echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart), some heart problems can be identified as early as 12 weeks into a pregnancy. Using fetal detection to find potential problems in utero gives specialists the ability to provide early intervention and customized treatment that is best suited to each patient, helping to ensure an optimal outcome.

If your unborn child is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, the heart surgeon will meet with you to answer any questions you may have and review treatment options. Congenital heart surgery is always a delicate operation, so Medical City Children's Hospital has assembled a team of specialists with expertise in all areas to help provide the high-quality, compassionate care needed for complex procedures.

Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU)

The CICU is a specialty unit that is intensely focused on caring for children with heart defects. Following delivery and surgery, your baby will be cared for in the CICU by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare experts in congenital heart disease.

This specially trained team consists of congenital heart surgeons, pediatric cardiac intensivists, pediatric heart nurses and pediatric perfusionists who run the heart/lung bypass machine.

Patient-centered care in our CICU means that our specialists work with you—the one who knows your child best—to help your child recover swiftly and safely from heart surgery, catheter procedures, complex treatments or complications from heart conditions. With specialty training in fields including pediatric critical care, cardiology and cardiac anesthesia—combined with leading-edge monitoring and support technology—our experts are able to recognize and respond to problems quickly and effectively.

The CICU at Medical City Children’s Hospital is one of the few cardiac units of its kind in the nation, allowing each child to stay in the same private room from admission to discharge. The high-tech rooms adapt to the level of care the patient may need, which eliminates the need to transfer the patient to other units in the hospital. Our rooms provide all of the family amenities of a regular acute care patient room with the addition of technology designed specifically for intensive care. Throughout their hospital stay, our cardiac patients are treated by one dedicated healthcare team. This unique model of care provides continuity that greatly improves patient safety, as well as patient and family comfort and satisfaction, research shows.

With more than 50 years of combined experience, our CICU physicians have the following qualifications:

  • Board certifications in Pediatrics
  • Additional board certifications in either Pediatric Cardiology and/or Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
  • Advanced fellowships in Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care

You can rest assured that your child will always receive prompt, expert medical attention by one of our board-certified physicians—and never by a physician in training or a medical student. Cardiac intensive care attending physicians are available in the CICU 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our nurse practitioners are similarly qualified, with

  • Certifications in Pediatric Critical Care and Pediatric Primary Care

Bringing the highest level of knowledge and expertise to each patient, our team of pediatric cardiac intensivists works closely with the Heart Center's anesthesiologists, cardiologists, neonatologists, surgeons, cardiac advanced nurse practitioners and cardiac nurses. To make sure your child receives the most comprehensive care possible, the team also works with experts from different healthcare specialties. This multidisciplinary team meets daily to discuss and personalize each patients’ care plan, which means your child has the benefit of having multiple doctors weigh in on different treatment options.

Family-centered care

We understand how important family is to the healing process. In addition to offering private rooms, the CICU features:

  • Dedicated beds for newborns to toddlers as well as for children and young adults.
  • Connection to Medical City Women's Hospital, the only birthing center in the region where moms and babies are cared for under the same roof. This lets us provide immediate care for newborns who need urgent cardiac treatment, while keeping them close to their mothers as they recover from delivery.
  • Family space in rooms so that one parent can stay at their child's bedside 24/7.
  • Private consultation rooms for parent-physician conversations.
  • Dedicated waiting room for families of CICU patients only in immediate proximity to the CICU.
  • Families are encouraged to participate and ask questions on daily multidisciplinary rounds in the CICU.
  • Dedicated Child Life Services, a department at Medical City Children's Hospital that provides invaluable resources for helping your child cope with surgery and other medical procedures. The specialists use play therapy, videos, games, music and more, to help explain things in ways children can understand. The aim is to help relieve stress, provide distraction and make the experience less scary.
  • Families who have a child diagnosed with a congenital heart abnormality can benefit from connecting with people who have had or are having similar experiences. That's why parents of former Medical City Children's Hospital patients lead a congenital heart support group called Amazing Little Hearts. The mission of Amazing Little Hearts is to provide families affected by congenital heart disease with compassionate care and support. Families meet monthly to share experiences, encouragement and advice.

Specialized, ongoing care

Once your child's hospitalization is completed, we encourage parents to let their child get back to being a kid. Children have amazing recovery abilities and intuitively understand to stop playing if they overexert themselves. All of our patients receive ongoing care from their cardiologists, and their congenital heart surgeon personally follows up with their obstetrician and pediatrician. Our board-certified physicians also specialize in advanced minimally invasive procedures. With Medical City Dallas on the same campus as Medical City Children's Hospital, your child can receive expert, ongoing heart care into adulthood.

Some babies who are born with a single ventricle defect, such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, are fragile when they are discharged from the hospital. While we know that the time spent at home with family is important, parents should also be aware that there is an increased risk of potentially life-threatening medical complications that can occur between your child's birth and their second major operation, usually performed when they are around six months of age. To help these fragile infants stay as safe as possible during this high-risk period, we use the Hearts at Home Monitoring Program. This technology allows home monitoring of key health measures and provides early recognition of warning symptoms.

The unique program at Medical City Children's has taken this monitoring one step further to include weekly scheduled video visits with the patient and family in their home, along with daily remote patient monitoring via an iPad that is sent home with the family. In addition to being monitored by your cardiologist, your baby will be followed daily by an advanced nurse practitioner in the CICU who will be alerted to any changes that may warrant you visiting your pediatrician or cardiologist.

When your baby is discharged from the hospital, you will receive:

  • A pulse oximeter, which is a painless sensor device for measuring oxygen levels in the blood
  • A baby digital scale
  • An iPad that will be specially configured so that you can:
    • Record your child's vital signs and share them with the care team
    • Record and share other important data about your child's condition
    • Attend video calls with the care team
  • A binder featuring a one-page healthcare dashboard, allowing you to quickly and accurately share important medical information with any healthcare team that treats your child

Pediatric oncology

When it comes to your child’s healthcare needs throughout their life, our pediatric cardiologists on the medical staff have the answers and treatment options you’re looking for, whether they’ve just been diagnosed with a heart condition or you’ve been managing it for years. Team members are specially trained to treat congenital and acquired heart conditions in patients of all ages, from before birth through adulthood. Partnering with specialists from our Maternal Fetal Institute provides unborn babies and infants with comprehensive, multidisciplinary care.


Pediatric electrophysiologists diagnose and treat heart arrhythmias (abnormal and dangerous heart rhythms) in children. When there’s a problem with the electrical signals that control the heartbeat, the result is one of many types of arrhythmias. While some arrhythmias are not dangerous, others can cause the heart to pump less effectively and may be life-threatening.

Arrhythmias affect the heartbeat in different ways. Some cause the heart to beat too quickly (tachycardia), some cause the heart to beat too slowly (bradycardia), and some cause the heart to beat in an irregular fashion (fibrillation).

Arrhythmias are named for the area of the heart where the electrical problems begin. A child diagnosed with the most common type of tachycardia in children - supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), also called paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT) - has a condition in which the atria (upper chamber of the heart) beats too fast.

Symptoms of arrhythmias:

Arrhythmias can often go undetected, especially since they may not cause symptoms all of the time. Signs that your child may have an arrhythmia can include:

  • Heart palpitations (fluttering or skipping beats)
  • Unexplained dizziness or fainting
  • Family history of sudden cardiac death

Diagnosing and treating arrhythmias:

If your child has a suspected arrhythmia, the electrophysiology specialists at the Heart Center at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas will use leading-edge diagnostic tools, including an electrophysiology study (EPS), to identify problems with the heart’s electrical system. The electrophysiology study is performed using cardiac catheterization—a highly specialized procedure that can be used to both diagnose and treat a variety of heart conditions.

Other tests that may be used to diagnose arrythmias include electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), exercise stress testing, Holter or event monitoring, implantable loop recording (ILR), stress/rest myocardial perfusion imaging, provocative intracardiac electrophysiology testing, and provocative pharmacologic testing.

If your physician determines that your child’s arrhythmia requires treatment, our specialists will create an individualized treatment plan for you. This customized treatment plan will be based on many factors, including the type of arrhythmia your child has, how severe the symptoms are, and whether or not your child has other heart problems or medical conditions.

Treatment options may include medical therapy management, cardioversion, ablation procedures, and placement of pacemakers/defibrillators.

Interventional cardiology

Our pediatric interventional cardiologists are experts at delivering minimally invasive care so that some congenital heart defects can be repaired without surgery. Using diagnostic catheterization and interventional techniques, they can diagnose and treat a variety of common and less common, highly complex heart conditions.

Catheterization involves the insertion of catheters—long, thin tubes that resemble straws—into the heart using the large arteries and veins, typically from the legs, as pathways. Diagnostic catheterization can provide your child’s physician with valuable information, including:

  • The presence of congenital heart defects and their severity
  • The location of blocked or narrowed blood vessels
  • Pressure and oxygen level measurements
  • How well the heart is pumping
  • Problems with the heart valves
  • Tissue samples (biopsy)

Cardiac catheterization procedures may be part of your child’s treatment plan and may be used for:

  • Angioplasty for widening a narrowed artery, with or without placing a stent
  • Fixing congenital heart defects, such as closing holes
  • Opening or replacing heart valves, which are narrowed or leaking (balloon valvuloplasty, transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement)
  • Preventing consequences of blood clots by closing abnormal communications within the heart or lungs
  • Closing other abnormal pathways such as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in preterm infants as well as in older infants and children

Cardiac anesthesia

It can be concerning any time your child has to go under anesthesia—and even more so when they are being treated for a heart condition. The unwavering goal of our pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists is to make sure your child is comfortable, safe and receives the personalized care that he or she deserves. Our comprehensive anesthesia care includes board-certified pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists who work in tandem with heart surgeons and other cardiac specialists to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

Advanced cardiac imaging

The pediatric cardiac imaging team at Medical City Children's Hospital consists of a dedicated team of pediatric sonographers, technologists, radiologists and cardiologists with advanced training and expertise in the diagnosis of congenital heart disease.

The use of complimentary imaging modalities allows for a comprehensive, accurate assessment of even the most complex of heart defects.

Imaging tests available include:

  • Angiography—X-ray imaging of the heart’s blood vessels)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan—a combination of X-rays and computer technology that provides a detailed look at the heart
  • Fetal echocardiogram—a non-invasive ultrasound image of the heart muscle performed while the baby is still in its mother’s womb (in utero)
  • Intracardiac echocardiogram—a catheter-based procedure for gathering ultrasound images within the heart
  • Magnetic resonance image (MRI)—a non-invasive procedure using radiofrequency to produce detailed 3-D images
  • Stress echocardiogram—a test that measures how well the heart and blood vessels are working when heart rate is elevated
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)—a catheter-based procedure using the esophagus as a pathway to examining the heart without the ribs or lungs blocking the view
  • Transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE)—the most common, non-invasive echocardiogram for creating a moving picture of the heart through the chest wall

ECMO/mechanical support

The cardiac specialists at Medical City Children’s Hospital are equipped to treat the most medically fragile infants. Our advanced treatments include extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a heart-lung machine support system often used for babies with congenital heart abnormalities. The goal of ECMO is to mechanically function as the heart and lungs, allowing them to rest and support the healing process after surgery.

ECMO therapy requires a large team of experienced caregivers. Our dedicated perfusionists and ECMO specialists care deeply about the health and safety of every child and use all their skills and expertise to ensure the best possible outcomes.

The ECMO Team at Medical City Children’s Hospital has been recognized as a “Gold Standard” ECMO program since 2013 by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.

Medical directors

Kristine J Guleserian, MD

Kristine J Guleserian, MD is medical director of the Congenital Heart Surgery Program at Medical City Children's Hospital. Board-certified in general surgery, thoracic surgery and congenital heart surgery, Dr. Guleserian is the first woman to lead a Congenital Heart Program in the United States.

Mark A. Clay, MD

Mark A. Clay, MD, is medical director of inpatient pediatric cardiovascular services at Medical City Children's Hospital. His specialties include pediatric critical care medicine and pediatric cardiovascular disease.

Heart conditions: FAQ

Camp Brave Heart

Camp Brave Heart is a weekend pediatric cardiac camp that provides a medically safe and fun summer camp experience to children ages 7 to 16 who have congenital heart defects or heart disease and have been or are being treated at Medical City Children's Hospital. The camp is free for current and former pediatric heart patients.

Visit the Camp Brave Heart Facebook page for updates and details.

Videos about our Congenital heart disease services

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Medical City Children's Hospital family relocates for child's heart treatment

Our Congenital heart disease Locations

Currently Viewing:

Medical City Children's Hospital
7777 Forest Ln
Dallas, TX 75230
 (972) 566 - 7000

Currently Viewing:

Medical City Children's Hospital
7777 Forest Ln
Dallas, TX 75230
 (972) 566 - 7000
Medical City Children's Congenital Heart Surgery
7777 Forest Lane
Suite D-1130
Dallas, TX 75230
 (972) 566 - 2525

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