If children are diagnosed with heart failure, it means their heart is failing to work as well as it should. Every day, we bring hope to families as we guide them toward next steps for children whose hearts need special treatment.
At Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Heart Institute, we offer a range of therapies, including heart transplant, for children, teens and adults with congenital heart disease. We take a family-centered approach to care, from your first consultation to time spent in the hospital and follow-up care. You and your family are always in the center of everything we do.
What Is Heart Failure?
A heart is a pump, and for a child to stay energetic and healthy, the pump needs to work at high efficiency. Heart failure doesn’t mean the heart isn’t beating. It simply means it isn’t working as well as it should. There are degrees and stages of heart failure.
If a child is born with a congenital or structural heart problem, it can affect their heart’s ability to pump blood correctly. Other conditions, such as cardiomyopathy, may be present at birth or develop later. Cardiomyopathy is a condition that weakens the heart muscle itself.
Heart failure is an overwhelming diagnosis for families to face. We offer hope. From medical therapy all the way to heart transplant, we treat all causes of heart failure, including congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathy.
How We Care for Children With Heart Failure
For some children, we can manage their condition with medication. Others may require interventional (nonsurgical) procedures to help alleviate symptoms or protect them from dangerous heart rhythms and sudden death. For children who have no other option, we offer heart transplantation.
We have built our heart failure program to provide comprehensive care, right here in South Florida. We offer:
- Experienced team: Our nationally recognized specialists in pediatric cardiology work together to develop an individualized care plan for each child. Area cardiologists routinely refer families to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital because we are known for our expertise in diagnosing and managing cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Meet the heart care team.
- Excellent outcomes for heart transplants: Since we began our heart transplant program in 2010, we have performed 50 heart transplants. We have a 100 percent survival outcome at the 1-year and 3-year markers. Read more about heart transplant.
- VAD as a bridge to transplant and sometimes recovery: A ventricular assist device, or VAD, is a mechanical pump that does the work of the heart when the heart is too weak to pump blood effectively. We’ve successfully supported more than a dozen children until the time of heart transplant. Learn how we use VAD to help children who are waiting for a heart.
- Family-centered care: We work as a team to support families and children so your family can get all the heart care your child needs in one place. We always consider what your child needs at each stage. We involve parents in every decision, and we do our best to let children be children. While it’s never easy, we try to make it uncomplicated. Learn more about our resources for families.
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