Congenital Heart Defects in Children
A congenital heart defect is a problem with the heart that a baby is born with. Most conditions are now diagnosed before or just after birth, and advances in treatments are making it possible to fix most defects.
Every year, Wolfson Children’s cardiovascular experts provide care and management of congenital heart disease in our state-of-the-art facilities for more than 8,000 children and adults for a wide range of heart conditions.
Children need care, equipment and procedures designed specifically for their small bodies and tiny hearts. At Wolfson Children’s Hospital, children with congenital heart defects are diagnosed using the latest technology and receive the most advanced treatments available. You can rest assured knowing everyone at the Wolfson Children’s Terry Heart Institute — doctors, nurses, technologists and other team members — has vast experience providing lifesaving cardiac care to children of all ages.
Little hearts need big expertise. That’s why we believe children with heart conditions deserve the focused attention of the most practiced specialists around, working as one team, to deliver outstanding care. You can trust your child’s little heart to our accomplished team that provides compassionate, family-centered care in our world-class facility.
Diagnosing Heart Defects Before Birth
Routine ultrasounds and prenatal tests are revealing heart defects in children before they are even born. This is probably a diagnosis you didn’t anticipate, but our special programs run by experienced heart specialists are designed to help you through this.
Fetal Cardiac Clinic
Our Fetal Cardiac Care Clinic uses fetal echocardiography (a sonogram of the baby’s heart) to confirm a diagnosis and pinpoint the exact condition. Parents receive information and prenatal education to help them understand the type of heart defect their unborn baby has, as well as the treatments or surgeries that may be needed.
Parents also can meet the pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons and take tours of the Newborn ICU and Cardiovascular ICU. The tours give parents a chance to see the facilities and meet the staff who will be caring for their baby after any surgery. Parents also appreciate the opportunity to talk to each other through clinic support groups.
This early diagnosis, education, support and planning will help ensure a safe birth, as your baby’s team will be on standby to quickly give your child needed care and support.
Conditions We Treat
- Aortic and mitral valve disease
- Atrial septal defects
- Aortic valve stenosis
- Atrioventricular canal defects
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Complex congenital heart defects
- Mitral valve stenosis
- Double-outlet RV (right ventricle)
- Ebstein’s anomaly
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
- Single ventricle palliation
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Total anomalous pulmonary venous connection
- Transposition of the great arteries
- Truncus arteriosus
- Vascular ring
- Ventricular septal defects
Treating Congenital Heart Defects in Children
Depending on your child’s condition, only close monitoring or treatment with medicine may be needed. Some conditions require minimally invasive cardiac catheterization, or more serious treatment, such as heart surgery.
Though a diagnosis can feel overwhelming, the doctors, team members and community at Wolfson Children’s Hospital are here to help your family. In addition to medical care, we will also help you find support groups in the community where you can talk to other families who have children with congenital heart defects.
Quality and Outcomes
Wolfson Children’s is dedicated to the very best cardiac care and outcomes for every patient. We believe that what gets measured always gets better, and this focus on quality ensures the best care for patients.
Below is the most current data available, based on 768 congenital heart operations during the last 4 years. Last updated: June 2023
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
100% survival rate
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
100% survival rate
100% survival rate
Overall Survival Rate for All Surgeries
Neonatal Heart Surgery Survival Rate
(1st 30 days of life)
95.08% survival rate
Single Ventricle Procedures
Fontan, Kawashima, Glenn, Pulmonary Artery Banding, Pulmonary Artery Reconstruction, Shunt
96.2% survival rate
Our specialized team is a collaboration of cardiologists, electrophysiologists, board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, cardiovascular nurses and rehabilitation therapists working together to deliver the highest level of individualized care for your child.
We provide outstanding pediatric heart care at the Terry Heart Institute in Jacksonville and at satellite locations throughout North Florida and South Georgia, so help is never far from home.
Minus the murmur
Tallahassee newborn with rare congenital heart condition now wakes up all smiles.Read Lynn's Story