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The Arkansas Children's Heart Center's cardiovascular surgery team strives for the early and complete repair of congenital heart malformations with the latest technological advances with some of the best pediatric cardiovascular surgeons available anywhere. Our family-centered care environment is the foundation of personal, human relationships with our patients and families.Meet the team
As the only program in Arkansas dedicated to pediatric cardiology, specialists at Arkansas Children’s Heart Center diagnose and treat a comprehensive list of both acquired and congenital heart diseases and conditions.
With a multidisciplinary team approach to care, our specialists work together across all pediatric disciplines for the best care plan for your child. Care is coordinated through diagnosis, imaging, treatment, aftercare and follow-up monitoring. Critically important for children with congenital heart disease, we help transition patients to our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic for long-term success.
The pediatric cardiovascular surgical program features state-of-the-art surgical care for children and adults with congenital heart disease, balanced with utmost compassion and hope. Although our focus is on patients from the south central United States, our pediatric cardiovascular services reach beyond those boundaries to a nationwide and even international level. From the tiniest of neonates with the most complex cardiac malformations to continuing-care adults with conditions present since birth, our outcomes and results are unexcelled anywhere.
Expert Heart Care in Arkansas for Every Child at Every Age
Caring for patients with congenital heart defects means caring for people of all ages. In fact, our successes mean there are many more adults living with congenital heart disease. This has led us to develop a new field of practice focusing on those adult survivors. Our practice includes:
The Arkansas Children's Hospital's Cardiovascular Anesthesia team has the training and experience to focus on the specific needs of patients and manage a range of complex cardiac issues. For patients with heart disease, the pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist has a central role in coordinating team-based surgical care.
The cardiac anesthesiologist:
Each part of the surgical procedure requires specific attention, including poor heart function before transplantation, the monitoring during cardiopulmonary bypass, or assisting the patient's heart in separating from cardiopulmonary bypass. The cardiac anesthesiologist has the ability to monitor the patient's overall well-being, thereby helping to create the optimal environment for a successful cardiac repair procedure, or any other type of procedure on a cardiac patient.
Sometimes needed for diagnosis or follow-up care, your care team at Arkansas Children’s Heart Center may schedule initial or additional tests and procedures.
We know each patient and family has unique needs so we tailor our services for personalized care. Whether you're from out-of-town, out-of-state or traveling internationally for treatment, we have an entire team of specialists to help.
Each step of the way at the Heart Center, our team assists patients and family members in understanding both the short term care, including diagnosis and treatment, but also follow up care and careful monitoring to help our young patients get better today and be healthier tomorrow. We communicate and motivate toward success at all phases of care, including:
Surgery can be scary for our young patients and their families, so we have created this informative video to help answer questions about what to expect during your pre-operative visit.
The Heart Center at Arkansas Children’s helps overcome barriers a family may face when caring for loved ones. From assistance finding short or long-term housing, optimal scheduling of appointments, arranging transportation, meal assistance and interpreter services – our goal is to help make your visit as uncomplicated as possible.
In addition to our advanced and high-tech care, we offer services to make your stay more pleasant – for both children and parents alike. Our telemetry care provides ECG monitoring by radio waves so patients who require monitoring of their heart rhythm can move around in the hallways and play areas without remaining attached to a heart monitor. The Center also includes a playroom for children of all ages including a wide variety of stations, movies, video games and a computer with controlled Internet access.Family-Centered Approach
We approach every aspect of heart care - from your initial diagnosis through treatment – and even including long term care management, if necessary, from a family perspective. Arkansas Children’s believes in a model of care that motivates kids toward optimal health through safe, high quality and comprehensive medical care. We support each patient and family member with:
Our team provides Family Support Services to provide assistance to patients and family members, when needed. We offer a range of services and specialists, including Child Life Specialists, Chaplains, Pet Therapists and Music Therapists that help families manage the various steps of care, answer questions or help with any unexpected issues. We’re here to help – both with medical concerns or help explain our programs or processes.
Arkansas Children’s entire team of pediatric heart specialists work together for improved outcomes (results). Safety is a core value and top priority at Arkansas Children’s. This is the philosophy behind our quality improvement movement, Make Zero Happen: Know Harm. No Harm.
Arkansas Children’s Heart Institute has the only children’s heart surgery program in Arkansas. We’ve performed thousands of heart surgeries since the program began.
We’re pleased to share our volumes (number of surgeries/procedures done) and outcomes (results of treatment) to help parents and families make informed decisions about their child’s care.
|Cardiac Anesthesia in Non-Cardiac Location||206|
|Biopsy Cardiac Caths||101|
|EP Studies and Ablation Procedures||64|
|Pacemaker and Defibrillator Implants||33|
The blue bar represents ACH survival rates and the red bar represents the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ (STS) national averages, which medical centers can use to compare.
CoA – Coarctation of the Aorta; TOF – Tetrology of Fallot; ASO – Arterial switch operation
There are many types of heart defects and our expert team of heart specialists at Arkansas Children's provides care for a comprehensive list of heart defects and conditions. Some are called “critical congenital heart disease” or CCHD. CCHD may occur when a baby’s heart or major blood vessels do not form properly. A “critical” heart defect is one that needs urgent treatment in order to have the best outcome for the baby. Treatment can include medical and surgical procedures. Learn more about CCHD by visiting the links below.
What is Beads of Courage®?
Beads of Courage is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization dedicated to helping children with serious illness record, tell, and own their stories of survival. When children undergo treatment for serious illnesses, needle sticks, x-rays and hospital stays are all painful episodes to be endured. Beads of Courage is a program that awards these brave patients with beads to represent each milestone. Through this program, children are able to tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved.
Initially created to help children endure cancer treatment, the program has since been modified to also reach patients with cardiac conditions. Patients receive a necklace with their name and a bead symbolizing the cardiac program. With every milestone in a patient's treatment, beads are added to help tell a story of understanding, acceptance, and survival unique to each child's journey. These colorful beads are worn proudly by patients or their families as a symbol of courage. They are a constant reminder to take each procedure one day at a time. These beads bring energy and excitement to patients and families.
Ongoing evaluation of the Beads of Courage program indicates that the program helps to decrease illness-related distress, increase the use of positive coping strategies, helps children find meaning in illness, and restore a sense of children coping with serious illness. The program also provides something tangible the child can use to tell about their experience during treatment and after.
For more information or to make a donation email us: CVICUbeadsofcourage@archildrens.org.
As a teenager, Shelly Williams thought she had a heart murmur, but it turned out to be a congenital heart defect. After surgery at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) in 2011 to repair her heart defect, she enjoys normal daily activities with no restrictions.
When Ben tells people he's a patient at Arkansas Children's, he gets some funny looks. Ben is an adult, but his medical needs are a perfect fit for the experts at the at Arkansas Children's. Learn more about his heart journey with us and his new, exciting kid-sized adventure in the video below.
Cardiologists at Arkansas Children's provide warning signs to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest among teens.
Just six hours after Emma's birth, her parents were on their way to Arkansas Children's, where their newborn was given a difficult diagnosis. They were shocked but soon learned about the excellent care she would receive. Hear what life is like for this family today.