The diagnosis of a child’s heart defect does not need to bring fear of a poor outcome or a lifetime of limited abilities. Through the coordinated care of UNC’s pediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery staffs and the UNC Maternal-Fetal Center, children can receive state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment aimed at providing them with the opportunity to grow into healthy and active youngsters. Our goal is to provide these special children and their families a future of unlimited potential.
UNC has long been a leader in the care of pediatric patients with congenital heart disease. We offer a multidisciplinary approach to heart surgery for children, starting with fetal diagnosis and counseling during pregnancy. We perform the full range of congenital cardiac surgery, including neonatal repair of transposition of the great arteries utilizing the arterial switch procedure, primary repair of hypoplastic left heart syndrome utilizing the Norwood procedure, repair of the aortic valve pathology, including the Ross procedure, cardiac transplantation and permanent pacemaker implantation. We have provided surgery on newborns as small as 1.7 kg (3.7 pounds). Currently, we are working with the pediatric cardiac interventionalists in providing hybrid procedures for single-ventricle children.
Our pediatric cardiothoracic surgical team is a diverse group which includes a surgeon, physician assistants, and a nurse practitioner. In the operating room, we have three pediatric cardiothoracic anesthesiologists who work closely with the surgeon. The pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) team in North Carolina Children's Hospital consists of specially trained medical and nursing staff who provide 24-hour care preoperatively and postoperatively in the 20-bed area. The cardiac intermediate cardiac care unit (CICC) delivers family-centered care. Rounding out the team are respiratory therapists who provide care to the children on standard ventilators, oscillators, oxygen therapy, ECMO, and nitric oxide therapy.
We recommend that your child be seen by a pediatric cardiologist prior to your visit with the surgeon. The UNC pediatric cardiology office number is (919) 966-4601. They will evaluate the patient further with an echocardiogram, chest x-ray, and/or EKG. A few patients may require other tests.
If you want to speak with Dr. Mill or Dr. Nelson prior to a planned or proposed surgery, you can call (919) 966-3382 to set a date and time. For those meetings that are fact-finding meetings (or second opinions), we ask that you provide a copy of the patient’s records via fax or bring them with you. Please include the history and physical exam, EKG, cardiac catheterization CD with report, echo tape/CD with report, CT scans with report, medications, and any other pertinent medical information.
What do I need to know before my child's heart surgery? Frequently asked questions.
While you are in the hospital you will hear some words and phrases which may be unfamiliar but are frequently used. Here are some of the terms and phrases.
Your child will be treated in North Carolina Children's Hospital. Here is some information about the hospital:
Directions to the pediatric clinic: We see pediatric cardiac surgery patients in Specialty Clinic 2 at the N.C. Children's Hospital. Enter the N.C. Children's Hospital (see Medical campus map, below) and turn right. Walk down the concourse until you see a check-in and waiting area under the escalator.