Pediatric Heart Surgery at Columbia
If you or your child may benefit from heart surgery, we’re here to help. Our pediatric heart surgeons are proud to help lead the Congenital Heart Center at Columbia, a fully integrated, multi-specialist team devoted to the treatment of complex heart conditions in children of all ages, from neonates to adults. We provide children with congenital heart defects treatment options never thought possible just a short time ago, with outcomes that are among the best in the nation. Our center has the lowest mortality rate in New York State for pediatric heart surgery, and one of the lowest nationwide – even though our surgeons routinely treat some of the most complex cases, many referred from other institutions.
With our program, you can expect:
- The full resources of Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NY (MSCHONY), one of the country’s best children’s hospitals, and NewYork Presbyterian, the number one hospital in New York as rated by US News & World Report.
- A team of top-rated pediatric heart surgeons, with better results and lower complication rates than their peers at other centers.
- Highly specialized subservices for any need, like our historic heart transplant program and our dedicated Congenital Heart Valve Center.
Most importantly, you can expect us to be kind, respectful, and responsive communicators as we partner with you and your family on a successful journey to good health.
To get started with our center, call (212) 305-2688 or request an appointment online.
We offer our young patients state-of-the-art care for all pediatric heart conditions, with top-quality outcomes for even the most complex of cases. Some of our program highlights include:
Prenatal Cardiac Diagnosis And Intervention
For some children, taking care of their hearts must begin even before they are born. The Congenital Heart Center has one of the largest and most experienced maternal-fetal medicine teams in the country; our Center for Prenatal Pediatrics is the only one of its kind in the New York area, offering comprehensive prenatal diagnosis and therapy.
Hybrid Heart Surgery
The Congenital Heart Center is one of just a few centers in the U.S., and the only one in the tri-state area, offering hybrid cardiac surgery for infants and children. Hybrid heart surgery combines conventional surgical methods with minimally invasive, catheter-based interventional approaches to permit much smaller incisions, avoid the use of a heart-lung bypass machine, and promote a faster recovery. Our center evaluates all patients for less invasive treatment options, which may also allow our surgeons to treat a condition with a single operation rather than a series of procedures. Our interventional cardiologists offer percutaneous procedures, a less invasive option for valve repair and replacement, using a catheter inserted through a small incision in the groin.
A One of a Kind Pediatric Heart Valve Center
Our fully dedicated Pediatric Heart Valve Center was created to provide safe, effective, and innovative treatments for children and adolescents with congenital heart valve disease. Our team of experts from across Columbia’s medical center have come together to offer innovative surgical and percutaneous techniques for heart valve repair and heart valve replacement. Our integrated research program helps ensure that we can always bring you the best and safest treatment options available.
Leadership in Heart Transplantation
In 1984, our surgeons performed one of the world’s first successful pediatric heart transplants, in a 4-year old boy. Since that milestone, we’ve helped hundreds more children receive new hearts at our center. Now our transplant program is one of the largest and most successful in North America and the world, largely due to the dedication and expertise of our heart transplant team, the use of ventricular assist devices to support patients awaiting a new heart, and the use of novel immunosuppression protocols after transplantation. Our center is among the first in the world to use extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a short term cardiac assist device, to successfully sustain the lives of children whose anatomy or age would not permit a ventricular assist device.
Adult Congenital Heart Center
Thanks to life-saving advancements in pediatric heart care, we now have a growing population of adults with surgically-repaired congenital heart disease. As the body matures, these childhood operations may need revisions, and adults may also develop new lesions surrounding earlier repairs. In addition, newly recognized congenital defects and complex arrhythmias may require surgical attention. For all these reasons, our surgeons participate in Columbia’s Schneeweiss Adult Congenital Heart Center, one of the largest and most experienced adult congenital heart programs in the world.
Pediatric Marfan Center
Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder that can affect multiple parts of the body, including the heart and aorta. Because the condition touches on so many aspects of health, care for people with Marfan syndrome requires careful coordination between a wide assortment of medical specialists. To make that process easier, we’ve put together an all-in-one Marfan Center, officially recognized by the Marfan Foundation. Our center provides streamlined access to all the services our patients need, with a panel of experts working together to ensure you get the best care possible.
Research & Innovation
As part of a major academic medical center and one of the oldest pediatric heart surgery programs in the country, we have a proud history of pioneering research, and we are constantly working on the next innovation in congenital heart care. Examples of commitment to innovation include:
- Expanding the use of 3D models to plan and guide surgery
- Leading the initial and ongoing development of transcatheter valve replacement in congenital heart disease
- Performing the Ozaki aortic valve repair in children, in which the diseased aortic valve leaflets are removed to create a new aortic valve
- At the forefront of examining the impact of heart failure on adult congenital heart disease
- Guiding a national effort to improve patient outcomes through funded research and team based clinical care
- One of only a few institutions in the world to perform comprehensive multidisciplinary heart valve repair and replacement, including the latest percutaneous interventions, for children and adults with congenital malformations
- Established the only cardiac ICU in the nation exclusively dedicated to the care of newborn infants with congenital heart disease
Other Specialized Services
Pediatric Cardiac Nursing: Critical care nurses are at your child’s bedside from the operating room to the intensive care unit, providing compassionate care at all times. While your child is in the Cardiac ICU, a senior cardiology nurse will come to help prepare your family for the transition from the critical care setting to the inpatient cardiology floor. Nurses at our center understand that the ideal natural environment for a child is the home. Surgery and illness are a stressful experience in anyone’s life, especially a child’s, so we create an inviting, family-friendly, stimulating environment for kids. We work wholeheartedly to decrease their exposure to invasive testing and to promote pain control and distraction during these procedures. The nurses working on the in-patient cardiology unit see all the patients every hour, so that all needs are identified as early as possible and plans for discharge home are identified in a timely fashion so that preparations may be made well in advance. From the moment that you and your child are admitted to the ICU, our nurses are working to facilitate a safe, timely, and streamlined discharge.
Child Life Program: The Child Life program originated at MSCHONY in 1929 and is one of the oldest and most respected programs in the country. The program is designed to help children understand, cope with, and master their medical experiences. Child life specialists recognize a child's reactions to the stresses of illness and medical procedures, allowing them to assess a child and family’s psychosocial needs, and provide appropriate individualized interventions, including developing coping strategies, creating diversions during procedures, and planning activities that help normalize the environment. In addition, the program has a Music Therapist and an Art Therapist to provide music and art as a means for children to express their emotions and cope with their hospitalization. The Congenital Heart Center has a dedicated child life specialist assigned specifically to help our patient population and their families.
Pediatric Cardiac Rehabilitation: Each pediatric heart surgery patient receives an individualized and detailed evaluation and treatment plan by an occupational and/or physical therapist. By creating a playful atmosphere in therapy, a wide variety of interventions are used to achieve successful outcomes. Physical therapists specialized in cardiopulmonary techniques work with kids at the bedside to improve strength, endurance, balance, and mobility while promoting heart and lung function. Occupational therapists may assist with coordination, cognitive development, academic strategies and social coping skills. In the case of infants and young children, physical and occupational therapists facilitate the development of gross and fine motor skills including rolling, sitting, standing and independent mobility, which may be hindered in cases of congenital cardiac disease or other disorders that affect the heart. Outside of the hospital setting, our physical and occupational therapists offer a combination of supervised exercise, education and psychosocial support specifically designed for the specialized needs of those with cardiac disease. Education topics include basic review of the structure and function of the heart, modification of risk factors (when appropriate), and guidance in establishing a healthy exercise routine.
Speech, Language and Swallowing Disorders Program: The Speech Pathology team works closely with our pediatric heart specialists to accurately assess each child’s needs. The team then works collaboratively with the Departments of Nutrition, Respiratory Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy to facilitate advancements in safe feeding/swallowing and overall nutritional status. The team also helps communication through speech-language intervention and use of speaking valves. Our team has the capability to perform objective swallowing evaluations such as Modified Barium Swallow Study and Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing.
Our team is experienced with all forms of pediatric heart disease and are fully trained in all of the most advanced surgical treatment techniques.
Call (212) 305-2688 or request an appointment
Pediatric Heart Conditions
- Atrial Septal Defect
- Coarctation of the Aorta
- Congenital Aortic Valve Stenosis
- Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Vessels
- Coronary Artery Fistula
- D-Transposition of the Great Arteries
- Ebstein's Anomaly
- Mitral Valve Stenosis and Regurgitation
- Patent Foramen Ovale
- Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
- Single Ventricle
- Sinus of Valsalva Aneurysm
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Ventricular Septal Defect
Pediatric Heart Treatments
- Aortic Ross Procedure
- Arterial Switch Operation
- Atrial Septal Defect Repair
- Fontan Procedure
- Glenn Procedure
- Norwood Procedure
- Ozaki Aortic Valve Repair
- Tetralogy of Fallot Repair
- Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return Repair
- Ventricular Septal Defect Repair
Our team of highly-skilled and experienced pediatric heart surgeons include national leaders in complex neonatal surgery, hybrid minimally invasive surgery and transplant/assist devices.
To talk with our team, call (212) 305-2688 or request an appointment today.
Emile A. Bacha, MD | (212) 305-2688
Chief, Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
Dr. Bacha is Chief of the Division of Cardiac, Thoracic, & Vascular Surgery and the director of the Congenital Heart Center. His surgical expertise encompasses the full-spectrum of congenital and pediatric heart disease, including complex neonatal cardiac repairs and heart transplantation.
David Kalfa, MD, PhD | (212) 305-5975
Dr. Kalfa is the Director of the Pediatric Heart Valve Center and Director of the Initiative for Pediatric Cardiac Innovation. His expertise includes the full spectrum of pediatric and adult congenital heart diseases including minimally-invasive procedures and heart transplantation.
John Karamichalis, MD | (212) 305-5975
Dr. Karamichalis is an experienced and award-winning pediatric heart surgeon. He is certified in Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery with subspecialty certification in Congenital Cardiac Surgery.
Our Pediatric Cardiology Partners
- Julie A. Vincent, MD | Chief, Division of Pediatric Cardiology
- Erika S. Berman-Rosenzweig, MD | Associate Chief, Division of Pediatric Cardiology
Call us at (212) 305-2688 or reach us through our online appointment request form.
Documents and records can be faxed to us at (212) 305-4408
Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian
3959 Broadway (165th Street and Broadway)
New York, NY 10032
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Stories & Perspectives
- Six year-old Heart Patient Does Mini-Triathlon: When Rob Foley and Lauren Kifer-Foley learned that their baby would be born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), they turned to Columbia’s heart surgery team at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Read More of their story »
To get started with our pediatric heart surgery team, call (212) 305-2688 or request an appointment online.