Congenital Heart Defects

Care for patients with congenital cardiac disease requires highly specialized physicians and support staff who understand the structure and late complications of a heart with congenital malformations. As children with congenital heart disease enter adolescence and later adulthood, it's important that their cardiac care continues to be overseen by specialists in congenital cardiac conditions who can address their specific medical needs in facilities designed to care for adults.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program

Unlike other medical centers or stand-alone children's hospitals, the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center, together with Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute, can skillfully care for adolescents and adults with congenital cardiac disease. This allows physicians who have spent their entire careers taking care of patients with congenital heart disease to continue to treat the congenital heart aspects of these patients' lives well into adulthood.

The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program is led by Larry Latson, MD, a pioneer in interventional catheterization techniques and Todd Roth, MD, one of the few graduates of a dedicated Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) fellowship training program. Our team provides diagnosis, treatment, management, comprehensive consultation and psychosocial support for late adolescent and adult patients with congenital heart disease. It is staffed by a specialized, multidisciplinary team.

Advanced cardiac interventions, such as Melody® Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve Replacement—a revolutionary, non-surgical alternative to open heart surgery—are performed in our cardiac catheterization laboratories. Echocardiographic laboratories and operating rooms are specially equipped for the evaluation and management of children with cardiac malformations and are also used for adult patients.

Our state-of-the-art Pediatric and Adult Congenital Hybrid Suite is capable of supporting procedures that combine catheterization with surgery for children and adults with congenital cardiac defects.

Adults with acquired cardiac and vascular diseases and conditions such as peripheral vascular disease, coronary artery disease and some types of acquired valve disease can be treated in the Adult Hybrid Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute.

Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery

Approximately one in every 100 newborns in the United States is born with a congenital heart defect, an abnormality in the heart's structure that is present at birth, and can range from mild to—potentially—life-threatening.

Our patients are cared by world-renowned pediatric and congenital heart surgeons. Three of these highly-skilled surgeons include:

In addition to performing pediatric and congenital heart surgeries, our physicians also offer personalized treatment and follow-up care to patients.

We treat a wide range of congenital heart conditions including:

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD)
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Complex single ventricle
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Interrupted aortic arch
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

We also perform heart transplantation for pediatric and congenital heart defects that cannot be managed by conventional surgical techniques. For a child awaiting a heart transplant, a ventricular assist device can provide a veritable lifeline until the time of transplant. Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is the only medical center in South Florida to use the FDA-approved Berlin Heart, a mechanical pumping device that is a lifesaving option for children who must wait weeks, if not months, for a heart transplant.

Since congenital heart conditions are varied and complex, patients benefit from our multidisciplinary, evidence-based treatment approach. Our pediatric and congenital heart surgeons work shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the cardiac team to offer a truly collaborative program that revolves around what is best for the patient's long-term outcome.

From preoperative planning to postoperative recovery, our surgeons work closely with interventional cardiologists to offer patients minimally invasive treatment options whenever medically appropriate. In some instances, a patient may be treated with an interventional procedure early on, followed by open-heart surgery at a later date, when the patient is older and better able to withstand the operation. At other times, patients may undergo hybrid procedures that combine surgical and interventional procedures, which are performed in our dedicated pediatric hybrid lab, where cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists work side by side to treat some of the most complex cardiac cases.

Leading-Edge Clinical Care

Our pediatric and congenital heart surgeons offer innovative surgical repair techniques. Since 2007, the program has been instrumental in pioneering the use of extra cellular matrix to repair congenital heart defects. This technique allows for complete repair without the use of prosthetic material and allows the heart to essentially repair itself. Our surgeons also offer innovative valve reconstruction options, which are being used in select lifesaving situations. The first revolutionary custom-made left atrioventricular valve was successfully implanted here in 2013 with excellent outcomes and is the first such reported case performed in the world.

Internationally recognized for excellence in patient care and translational research, our team is conducting advanced clinical care based on promising protocols that are examining ways to modulate the autonomic nervous system. Such advanced treatment options have the potential significantly improve outcomes for pediatric and adult patients with congenital heart disease.