When it comes to your child, any kind of surgery is concerning. When that surgery is related to the heart, it can be a very frightening time. The cardiothoracic surgeons in the Cook Children's Heart Center are recognized for their skill and expertise.
And, because they perform an average of 400 surgeries each year, they know how challenging it is for you and your child, and they will work closely with you to ensure you understand all your child's surgery will entail and the risks involved in order to provide the best plan of treatment.
Cook Children's cardiothoracic surgeons help diagnose and treat patients with difficult heart and cardiovascular defects. Our Cardiothoracic Surgery program provides complete care for newborns, infants and children with heart and cardiovascular defects. Cook Children's cardiothoracic surgeons also use their extensive experience to treat adults who were born with a heart disease.
What we treat
Our cardiothoracic surgery team's services include the diagnosis, treatment and repair of congenital heart defects, such as:
Blood flow and heart valve abnormalities
Vincent Tam, M.D., medical director, Cook Children's Cardiothoracic Surgery, trained at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Children's Hospital in Philadelphia under William Norwood, M.D., who developed the Norwood procedure in the early 1980s.
- Problems with the chamber walls including atrial and ventricular septal defects
- Blood flow problems from the heart to other parts of the body, including aortic and pulmonary valve disease
- Valve problems within the heart, including mitral and tricuspid valve disease
- Problems involving multiple parts of the heart or atrioventricular canal defects
- Coarctation or malformation of the aorta
- Aortic problems, including interruptions or hypoplasia
- Problems involving the blood vessels leading to the lungs, such as pulmonary artery stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus
- Vascular rings or blood vessels that can entrap the airway or esophagus
- Blood flow irregularities outside of the heart
- Complex heart lesions
- Connective tissue disorders
Our surgery services include:
Did you know? Cook Children's cardiothoracic surgical team performs an average of 400 complex surgeries every year.
- Repair of complex congenital heart defects, including corrected transposition of the great artery and heterotaxy syndromes
- Palliation of complex single ventricular heart defects
- Staged palliation of hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- Heart valve repair
- Aortic translocation
- Arrhythmia, pacemaker and defibrillator surgery
When a child is diagnosed with the rare combination of transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and a ventricular septal defect, an aortic translocation or “the Nikaidoh procedure” is necessary.
With the Nikaidoh Procedure, the aorta is switched, along with the aortic valve, and placed in the pulmonary position. This avoids leaks of a faulty pulmonary valve on the right side. Additionally, it is necessary to mobilize the coronary arteries, as is done in the Arterial Switch Operation. The pulmonary root is divided at the level of the pulmonary valve, which is excised. The outlet septum is excised, thereby removing the superior margin of the VSD. The aortic root is transposed posteriorly so that it lies primarily over the left ventricle. The VSD is closed with a patch, which is anchored to the aortic root at its superior margin. The pulmonary artery is connected to the right ventriculotomy with an anterior patch of pericardium.
The procedure was developed by Hisashi Nikaidoh, M.D. in 1984 as a more effective alternative to the Rastelli procedure.
From 2011 to 2014, Cook Children’s performed 10 of these procedures with 0% mortality, compared to 62 procedures performed nationally, as reported by the STS with a mortality rate of 3.2%.
This procedure repairs a complex and potentially fatal congenital defect known as tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia and major aorto-pulmonary collaterals in just one procedure. This procedure recreates the child’s pulmonary arteries, making it more likely that the heart can be repaired before the child’s condition worsens which can cause the surgery to be more difficult, or even impossible.
Cook Children’s Heart Center is one of a few pediatric heart programs in the country to perform the unifocalization procedure, specifically on neonates and infants.
Cook Children's cardiothoracic surgery team
Cook Children's congenital heart surgeons work closely with cardiology colleagues in the diagnosis of children with complex congenital heart defects. We use a multidisciplinary approach with a dedicated cardiac anesthesia team and cardiac intensivists. Under the leadership of Dr. Vincent Tam, our program provides comprehensive cardiac surgical care, encompassing all diagnoses, with low morbidity and mortality. We have participated in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) national pediatric cardiac database and actively pursue continuous quality improvement.
Volumes and outcomes
We're here to help.
If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. For resources, education or more information on support, click here. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-2140.