Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program

Clinical Services: Pediatrics
Upper East Side
525 East 68th Street, F677
New York, NY 10065
(646) 962-KIDS

The Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, which is part of The NewYork-Presbyterian Congenital Heart Center, provides a wide spectrum of surgical services with high-level care for infants, children and adults with congenital heart disease. The pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program is led by Dr. Emile Bacha, a world-renowned expert in the surgical care of children and adults with congenital heart disease. Dr Bacha heads a team of four congenital heart surgeons specializing in the cardiac surgical care of patients with congenital heart defects.

Our busy surgical team provides high-level expertise and is routinely recognized for its surgical outcomes, ranking as one of the top 10 centers in the United States providing congenital cardiac surgical service.

Services & Programs

Common congenital heart defects and surgeries operated on by our surgical team include:

Common cardiac condition requiring surgery

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Coarctation of aorta
  • Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD)
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Pulmonary Atresia
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Truncus Arteriosus
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Common cardiac surgical procedures

  • Closure of septal defects
  • Pulmonary / Aortic /Mitral / Tricuspid Valve replacement and repair
  • BT and central shunt procedures
  • Coarctation repair
  • Glenn Procedure
  • Fontan procedure
  • Arterial Switch Procedure
  • Rastelli Procedure
  • Ross procedure
  • Unifocalization
  • Norwood Procedure

Diagnosis & Treatment

In addition to the technical expertise our surgical team provides, our center takes a multidisciplinary approach to the care of children undergoing heart surgery. From diagnosis through recovery, a team of experts dedicated to children will guide your family through this process. Our team working together for the wellbeing of your child includes:

  • Diagnostic imaging specialists for ensuring accurate diagnoses
  • Pediatric cardiac anesthesiology and critical care intensivists
  • Interventional cardiologists
  • Pediatric nursing specialists
  • Child Life specialists

When needed, our surgical team works in close cooperation with our pediatric interventional cardiology team to perform hybrid and transcatheter interventional procedures. Our team is proud to take a family-centered approach involving parents from diagnosis through recovery.

Families have the opportunity to meet with the surgical team early in the process before surgery so that information on surgical techniques, outcomes, and options can be provided.Throughout recovery, a caring surgical team guides our patients and their families through the recovery period making a personalized plan for the eventual transition home.

Transition of Care, from Childhood to Adulthood

With recent advancements in surgical care for children with congenital heart disease, life expectancy and quality of life has markedly improved for children with congenital heart disease who are now living longer and fulfilling lives.

Adults who underwent surgery for heart defects as children can now be cared for by specially trained cardiologists in adult congenital heart disease. Our surgical team works closely with our cardiologists through our adult congenital heart disease program.

What to Expect

My child has been diagnosed with a heart problem, will he/she need heart surgery?

Many children with congenital heart defects do not require heart surgery. If you have been referred for heart surgery by your pediatric cardiologist, please contact the Weill Cornell pediatric cardiothoracic surgery office (212-746-5014) to schedule a consultation with one of our pediatric heart surgeons to confirm that heart surgery is right for your child. For children who require a procedure, less invasive techniques such as interventional cardiac catheterization are sometimes an option.  If you are unsure if your child needs heart surgery or would like a second opinion, you may contact our outpatient division for an appointment with one of our pediatric cardiologists.  

I am pregnant and my child has been diagnosed with a congenital heart problem, will he/she need heart surgery?

Many children with congenital heart defects that need heart surgery are diagnosed before birth. If you are pregnant and your child has been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that may require surgery, you can schedule a visit for a fetal echocardiogram (ultrasound of the fetal heart) and meet with one of our pediatric cardiologists for a consultation.  If surgery is anticipated, a prenatal consultation can be arranged for you to meet with one of our pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons. In addition, parents hare encouraged to meet with our neonatology team through the Weill Cornell Fetal Care Center. Our Fetal Care Center will coordinate your care with your obstetrician, pediatric cardiologist, and pediatric heart surgeon so that you have a thorough understanding of the expected course before and after birth. In addition, if you have been referred from another institution, the Fetal Care Center will help you transfer your obstetrical care to the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

What should I expect when coming in for heart surgery?

In the weeks before the scheduled surgery, you and your child will come to the pediatric cardiology office for pre-surgical testing. Pre-surgical testing will include an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), and laboratory testing. At this visit, you will also meet the heart surgeon performing the surgery to discuss the procedure and answer your questions. You will have the opportunity to discuss any possible risks or adverse effects of heart surgery as well as why surgery is needed.  You will also receive written instructions about what to expect during your hospital stay including timing of surgery and where/when to arrive at the hospital on the day of surgery. Your surgical team will keep your primary cardiologist informed of your child’s surgery and will update them to main close continuity of care.

How long will my child's hospital stay be for his/her heart surgery?

This depends on several factors including age, diagnosis, and complexity of the heart surgery being performed. All patients will initially recover in our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Some children may be in the hospital for as few as 3 days whereas some children require longer stays of a week or more. You will be informed of the expected length of stay during your preoperative visit and we will continue to update you during your stay as to when you will be expected to be discharged home.

What happens after my child has been discharged home after heart surgery? 

Follow-up will be closely coordinated with your pediatric cardiologist. A follow-up visit with your pediatric cardiologist will be scheduled within about one week after discharge. At that visit, the surgical incision will be assessed to ensure proper healing and a follow-up ultrasound of the heart is often performed as well. Further follow-up with be arranged through your pediatric cardiologist.

How can I schedule an appointment or consultation with one of the pediatric heart surgeons?

For further information or to schedule a visit with one of our pediatric heart surgeons, please call (212) 746-5014.


Related link: Pediatric Cardiac Surgery