Complex Congenital Heart Disease Program

In the Complex Congenital Heart Disease Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, your child receives leading-edge care from world renowned specialists. With advances in medical technology, many children born with heart defects now live longer and healthier lives. Our expertise and innovative treatments give your child the best chance for a positive outcome.

Complex congenital heart disease refers to a group of heart defects present at birth. These defects occur when the heart doesn’t develop properly in the womb. Our surgeons have experience treating all types of congenital heart defects, from common and mild to rare and severe.


Complex Congenital Heart Disease: Why Choose Us

U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Children's Hospital Los Angeles among the top pediatric cardiology and heart surgery programs in the U.S. At the Heart Institute, your child gets excellent care from our renowned heart surgeons. Our Complex Congenital Heart Disease Program offers:

  • Unparalleled expertise: Our pediatric heart surgeons are among the best in the country. Your child’s heart is small, so it’s important to have a surgeon with experience operating on tiny hearts. Our surgeons regularly treat the most complex conditions in newborns, infants and children. Our surgeons have pioneered several surgeries for correcting complex congenital heart defects in children.
  • Exceptional outcomes: We successfully treat children with the most complex conditions. Our surgeons often come up with treatment plans for children whose previous doctors said there were no options. Doctors refer patients to us because we offer great outcomes that give your child the best possible quality of life. We are also known for shorter lengths of stay than the national average, so your child can return home sooner after receiving treatment.
  • Dedicated Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU): Your child recovers from surgery in the CTICU. This specialized unit offers advanced monitoring to track your child’s progress after surgery. CTICU staff members specialize in caring for critically ill children with heart disease and have experience treating many rare heart conditions.
  • Advanced mechanical support devices: Sometimes, the heart or lungs need extra support before or after surgery. At Children's Hospital Los Angeles, we have multiple mechanical support options, all sized appropriately for children. We have expertise in these advanced technologies, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and ventricular assist devices (VADs).
  • Prenatal diagnosis and fetal care: We have advanced prenatal diagnostics, including fetal echocardiograms, to identify heart defects before birth. Early diagnosis means we can provide you and your baby with the best possible care, starting in pregnancy. We monitor your pregnancy, help you plan for a safe delivery, and create a care plan for your baby. The fetal-maternal team also coordinates with the cardiothoracic surgery team for a seamless treatment experience. Learn more about our Fetal Cardiology Program.
  • Child-friendly, family-focused approach: We designed everything at Children's Hospital Los Angeles—from pediatric blood pressure cuffs to our wheelchair-accessible playground—with your child’s comfort in mind. And we understand that when your child is sick, it affects your whole family. We partner with you to make your child as comfortable as possible. For example, our doctors explain procedures in age-appropriate language. We also make it easy for you to be with your child throughout treatment and recovery.


Congenital Heart Defects We Treat

We treat all types of congenital heart defects and conditions, including but not limited to:


Congenital Heart Defect Programs and Services

Our experienced surgeons are experts at treating congenital heart defects. Our specialized heart surgery programs include:

Coronary Anomaly Program

A coronary artery anomaly is a type of congenital heart defect. This defect occurs when one or more of the coronary arteries form in the wrong place. CHLA monitors children with this condition and provides personalized care. Read more about the Coronary Anomaly Program.

Heart Transplant Program

Sometimes all other treatment options are unable to manage heart failure. And some heart defects are too severe to correct. In these cases, your child may be eligible for a heart transplant. CHLA is a leading pediatric heart transplant center. Learn more about the Heart Transplant Program.

Single Ventricle Program

Sometimes the heart doesn’t grow properly during fetal development, and a child is born with one ventricle (lower heart chamber) instead of two ventricles. Children with this type of heart defect need a series of surgeries to give them a functional heart. Our surgeons have the skill and experience to perform these surgeries on your child’s tiny heart. Find out more about the Single Ventricle Program.

Fontan Program

The Fontan procedure is the third surgery in the series to repair a single ventricle defect. Our multi-disciplinary program continues to follow children who have undergone Fontan surgery to identify the least invasive and most beneficial treatments. Our goal is to give your child the best possible quality of life. Read about the Fontan Program.

Heart Valve Program

Sometimes heart valves don’t form properly during fetal development. Malformed valves can affect blood flow and heart function. Whenever possible, our surgeons repair abnormal valves, which gives your child a better quality of life than replacing the valve. Learn about our Heart Valve Program.

Vascular Ring Program

During fetal development, the aorta forms from arches of tissue. A vascular ring forms when those arches don’t fully break down. This ring can affect breathing and eating. The Vascular Ring Program offers surgery to correct this condition. Learn more about the Vascular Ring Program.