Cardiothoracic (CT) Surgery Program

If your child has a congenital heart defect (CHD), he or she may need surgery within the first few years or even days of his life. At the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center, our team of surgeons are leaders in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, using the latest proven operative techniques and extensive research. Our comprehensive team of cardiac surgeons, pediatric cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiac nurses and pediatric advanced practice providers understand children- not just their hearts- and make it their priority to help them get well. 

Last year, our center performed 804 heart surgeries, including some of the most complex, with excellent outcomes. We perform pediatric heart surgeries and procedures including:

  • Arterial switch: The arterial switch is an open-heart operation that switches an improperly connected pulmonary artery and aorta back to the correct location. The arterial switch procedure may be used for transposition of the great arterias (TGA) or other forms of heart disease in which the great arteries are rotated incorrectly.
  • Glenn and Fontan procedures: The Glenn and Fontan procedures are done to redirect blood flow because one of the two ventricles cannot pump blood effectively. It may be weak, small or missing altogether. The Glenn and Fontan allow blood to be routed directly to the lungs, leaving the ventricle that is able to work to pump blood to the body.
  • Heart Transplantation: A heart transplant is an open-heart operation done for a child when his own heart muscle becomes too weak to pump enough blood through his body. A heart transplant replaces a diseased heart with a donor heart. The donor heart works as a normal heart should--pumping blood to the body and lungs.
  • Norwood procedure: The Norwood procedure is the first in a series of three open-heart operations done for a child with severe heart conditions. It is performed on children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and other variants of single ventricle heart disease in which the left heart structures do not develop properly. 
  • Ross procedure: The Ross procedure replaces a narrowed or leaky aortic valve. First, the surgeon takes out the defective aortic valve and replaces it with the patient’s pulmonary valve. The new aortic valve allows the left ventricle to pump oxygen-rich blood to the body. The pulmonary valve is then replaced with a pulmonary valve from a deceased donor, which allows oxygen–poor blood to flow from the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery to the lungs.
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Intra-aortic balloon pump
  • Device implantation
  • Repair of tracheal defects, vascular rings and aortic abnormalities
  • Trauma management to the heart, arteries and organs

Meet the Team