About This Program

Overview

The Pediatric and Congenital Cardiology Program provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and long-term follow-up care for infants, children and adolescents with all types of acquired and congenital cardiac conditions. 

Our team has particular expertise in several areas, including percutaneous transcatheter (minimally invasive) procedures, pediatric heart surgery, echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, lipid disorders, and preventative cardiology.

The Pediatric and Congenital Cardiology program includes:

Family-Centered Care and the Extensive Resources of Mass General Hospital

As a separate but fully integrated part of Massachusetts General Hospital—a pioneer and leader in the treatment and research of cardiac disease—Pediatric Cardiology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children offers patients and their families the best of both worlds, including:

  • Comprehensive, family-centered cardiac care provided by a highly experienced, multidisciplinary team of board-certified pediatric cardiac specialists who are focused exclusively on the needs of pediatric patients and their families
  • Seamless transition of care from before birth throughout childhood, adolescence and all stages of adulthood in a single setting, which helps ensure optimal, long-term outcomes
  • Minimally invasive approaches to treatment
  • Physician care provided by senior-level doctors, who follow patients throughout the entire course of their treatment
  • Access to the vast services, advanced technologies, clinical trials, and expertise of virtually all pediatric and adult specialists and subspecialists throughout Mass General

A Multidisciplinary Team

The cornerstone of Pediatric Cardiology is our close-knit multidisciplinary team of doctors and other pediatric care providers, who work collaboratively to provide personalized care for each patient.

Our team includes not only highly experienced board-certified pediatric cardiologists, all of whom are on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, but also cardiac anesthesiologists, nurses, intensivists, social workers, child life specialists, medical interpreters, chaplains, dietitians and others. All of these dedicated professionals specialize in the care of pediatric patients.

A physician member of this team communicates regularly and works collaboratively with the referring physician and patient’s family to ensure that each child’s care is well coordinated, whether the patient is an inpatient, outpatient or back at home. We understand the important role of referring physicians in the patient’s and family’s life, and we return patients to their care as quickly as possible.

While every member of the patient’s care team is vitally important, we are especially proud of our pediatric nurses, whose dedication and expertise helped make Mass General a Magnet Hospital—the state’s first—which is the highest honor for nursing excellence.

About This Program

The General Pediatric Cardiology program offers outpatient pediatric cardiology services for children with or suspected of having congenital heart disease, as well as other cardiac problems. We frequently see patients for conditions such as congenital heart disease, arrhythmias, murmurs, suspected Kawasaki Disease, fainting, breathing difficulty, chest discomfort symptoms, exercise-related complaints, abnormal tests suggesting heart disease, a family history concerning for heart disease, and more. Outpatient services are provided in the family friendly Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care and many other convenient locations in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

The Inpatient Pediatric Cardiology service provides care to children in the pediatric emergency department, pediatric wards, pediatric intensive care unit, well baby nursery, and neonatal intensive care unit. We care for infant and pediatric patients with congenital heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, myocarditis, Kawasaki's disease, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as well as other conditions. This service provides advanced inpatient services including advanced cardiac imaging, pediatric cardiac critical care including cardiac management of infants and pediatric patients on extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The service is staffed by cardiologists who are board certified in pediatrics, pediatric cardiology, and pediatric critical care and includes a pediatric cardiac nurse practitioner. We work closely with families and other pediatric specialists to ensure all of our patients receive the highest level care. Inpatient care is provided in spacious, up-to-date units that were specifically designed to meet the unique needs of pediatric patients and their families.

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Our 14-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) provides monitoring and life-sustaining treatment for critically ill infants, children, and adolescents. Our PICU offers advanced cardiovascular, neurological and respiratory support, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which was pioneered at Mass General. All PICU attendings are trained in pediatric critical care medicine, and cardiac patients are followed by a dedicated cardiac intensivist as well as by their pediatric cardiologist. Our pediatric intensive care team is an important aspect in the care of our pediatric cardiac catheterization and heart surgery patients and families.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Our 14-bed (with four intermediate care beds) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides critical care to premature and critically ill newborns. This level III unit provides the most advanced technological resources for cardiac patients, including ECMO and inhaled nitric oxide, and the specialized expertise of a multidisciplinary neonatology team that includes a cardiac intensivist, as well as the pediatric cardiologist involved in the infant’s care. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit cares for recently born infants with congenital heart defects in conjunction with the pediatric cardiology service to offer families support and complete solutions for any medical issue.

In both the PICU and NICU (as well as in general inpatient pediatric units), parents or guardians are welcome at any time, and may stay overnight at their child’s bedside in sleep chairs or day beds. Parents and family members have access to free wireless Internet service, and there is a children’s play area to help keep siblings occupied.

The philosophy of the Pediatric Cardiology program fosters a sense of intimacy that is very reassuring to both parents and children, and encourages close communication among the multidisciplinary specialists involved in each child’s care, including referring physicians.

Our commitment to clinical excellence, combined with our focus on understanding and addressing the unique needs of each patient and family, is one of the reasons parents are highly satisfied with the care their child has received.

Family-Centered Services

MassGeneral Hospital for Children offers a wide range of services and programs designed to help patients of all ages and their family members understand and cope with the diagnosis and treatment of a cardiac condition.

Child Life Specialists

To help normalize the hospital setting, our certified child life specialists offer patients and their siblings numerous age-appropriate opportunities for play and socialization with their peers. Learn more.

Family Support Group

A Family Support Group gives parents, including those with a prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease, an opportunity to share experiences and advice, and provide each other with emotional support.

Other Services

Our other services include pre-admission tours for children and families, one-on-one and group educational programs and a School Re-Entry Program.

Additional services available to MGHfC patients and families include:

  • Medical interpreters for non- or limited-English speaking and hearing-impaired patients and families
  • A Family Resource Center, offering a wealth of information about pediatric conditions
  • An International Patient and Family Center to provide assistance to families from outside the United States
  • Pediatric chaplaincy services and a chapel open 24-hours a day
  • Back-up child care center for siblings