About Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart defects are structural heart problems that are present at birth. Whether your child’s heart problem was detected during pregnancy or after birth, you’ll find the care your child needs at Duke Children’s. We treat a wide range of conditions, including single ventricle defects, heart valve defects, issues with the septum (the wall that divides the left and right sides of the heart), blood vessel defects, and complex heart wounds. Conditions that we treat include but are not limited to:
How We Treat Congenital Heart Disease
Care Before and After Birth
We begin care even before your child is born. Our team of experts includes perinatologists who specialize in caring for unborn babies and high-risk pregnancies, as well as fetal cardiologists who are experts in diagnosing heart disease before birth. Together, we will plan for your baby’s delivery and create a care strategy for after your child is born.
Advanced Imaging and Screening
Imaging options available before birth include targeted fetal ultrasound, fetal echocardiography (ultrasound that studies your baby’s heart and blood flow), and MRI. After birth, we offer the full spectrum of imaging, including noninvasive techniques such as cardiac MRI, cardiac CT angiography, and vascular ultrasound that can be performed with little or no sedation. Our 3D cardiac imaging technology allows us to view the structure and function of your child’s heart from all angles, enabling us to determine the most effective treatment.
Heart Procedures and Surgery
Our pediatric heart surgeons and interventional cardiologists perform a broad range of children’s heart procedures and surgeries to provide the unique care your child needs.
- Cardiac Catheterization
An interventional cardiologist inserts a small, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel and guides it toward your child’s heart. Then the doctor can use small tools that are passed through the catheter to help diagnose or repair congenital heart disease. Some catheterization procedures use dye injected into the coronary arteries to create images. Heart catheterizations are performed in a sterile procedure room, similar to an operating room, called a cardiac catheterization lab. We have two dedicated pediatric cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology labs. They include the latest 3D anatomy mapping systems, which allow the greatest precision and least amount of radiation exposure for procedures on the smallest, most delicate hearts.
Our pediatric heart rhythm specialists (also called electrophysiologists) can offer pacemakers and defibrillators. They also perform catheter ablation -- a minimally invasive procedure that uses energy to destroy tiny areas of the heart muscle that produce an abnormal heart rhythm.
- Pediatric Heart Transplant
If your child is a candidate for a heart transplant, our experienced team use advanced medical and surgical strategies to achieve the best possible outcome. Our doctors are also among the nation’s leaders in implanting ventricular assist devices (VADs), which serve as a bridge to transplant.