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Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common type of birth defects, affecting nearly 1 percent of children in the U.S. If your child has CHD, it means their heart did not form properly during their development early in pregnancy.

There are many types of CHD — including atrial septal defect (ASD), atrioventricular canal defect, tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of the great arteries (TGA), ventricular septal defect (VSD), and more.

CHD can range from simple to complex. Some types allow your child to be diagnosed during pregnancy and treated early in infancy. Treatment depends on the condition and its severity. Some mild heart defects don't require treatment at all. Others can be treated with medications and interventional procedures. Some require surgery. Sometimes, it’s even possible to perform a procedure on your child before they are born.

The Department of Cardiac Surgery manages both conventional and complicated cases of CHD and is able to consistently deliver compassionate, individualized care that gets your child on the best path to recovery.

Blittle blonde haired girl holds official document in front of camera

Treatment for a complex congenital heart defect gives Alyvia ‘endless energy’

After cardiac surgery at Boston Children’s to repair her CHD, she’s running around and enjoying life, while also advocating for heart treatment to lawmakers in her home state of Mississippi.

Why should you choose Boston Children’s to treat your child’s CHD?

Each year, physicians and specialists refer hundreds of children from across the U.S. and around the world to our program because of our reputation for repairing all types of congenital heart defects. If your child requires surgery, our pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons and highly experienced cardiac surgery team are well equipped to diagnose and treat the full spectrum of CHD. We provide a personalized care plan that starts with preoperative planning before your child’s hospital stay and continues after discharge through close cardiology and surgical follow-up.

Multi-disciplinary collaboration is key to patient recovery

Your child will receive multidisciplinary support before and after surgery. Our cardiac surgery team works with cardiologists, nurses, critical care specialists, lactation and feeding clinicians, physical and occupational therapists, child life specialists, and many others — all to ensure your child benefits from a comprehensive surgery plan that leads to optimal recovery.

Your child will feel comfortable with a wide range of support

We will make you and your child feel comfortable during their stay at the Benderson Family Heart Center at Boston Children’s Hospital by connecting them with Child Life Services, a team of specialists who guide, support, and educate young patients and their families throughout their hospital experience. One such component of that outreach is the Creative Arts program, which offers your child music therapy, as well as painting, drawing, and other visual activities.

Working toward a quick recovery so patients can go home

Using the most current guidelines, we identify CHD patients who can enroll in our Enhanced Recovery After Cardiac Surgery Program (ERAS). The program promotes shorter post-operative stays and helps get children back into their normal routines at home and school.

Congenital heart defect surgical volumes

Our experienced clinical team specializes in treating both common and complex congenital heart defects from infancy through adulthood. The Department of Cardiac Surgery cares for more patients with CHD than the STS average. Data taken from the Society for Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Congenital Heart Surgery Database.


Four-year case volume

Data period: July 2016-June 2020, four-year aggregated