The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center performs hundreds of heart surgeries each year. And because quality of care is our highest priority, we monitor our cardiac surgical and non-surgical outcomes and volumes to provide accurate and up-to-date information to patients and their families. Our focus on outcomes strengthens our mission is to continually improve and help our heart patients live healthy lives.
To support our commitment to transparency, we publicly report our outcomes on our website and through the U.S. News & World Report, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) and the Conquering CHD Hospital Navigator. We also submit data to various clinical data registries and collaboratives, which allows us to compare ourselves to other pediatric heart centers to continuously improve the outcomes for our patients.
The clinical data registries and collaboratives include:
- Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Congenital Heart Surgery Database for surgical outcomes. The STS has the largest congenital heart surgery database in the nation. Data from more than 100 hospitals is captured by STS to compare outcomes between heart programs across the country. We compare our outcomes to other STS pediatric heart surgery centers.
- Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) data registry for all medical and surgical patients admitted to a cardiac intensive care unit (CICU).
- Pediatric Acute Care Cardiology Collaborative (PAC3) data registry for all patients in a cardiac acute care unit (CACU).
- National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC), which encompasses clinical process and outcomes data centered on the care of infants with single ventricle heart disease from prenatal diagnosis through their first year of life.
- Improving Pediatric and Adult Congenital Treatment (IMPACT) data registry for pediatric and adult CHD patients who undergo diagnostic catheterizations and catheter-based interventions.
- Clinical Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative (CNOC) clinical registry, a multicenter, multinational, collaborative data resource that works to optimize neurodevelopmental outcomes for individuals with pediatric and congenital heart disease.
- Pediatric Heart Transplant Society (PHTS), an international prospective, event-driven database for children undergoing heart transplantation.
The Children's Heart Center is one of the largest pediatric cardiac programs in the country. We are top five in the nation for Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and Cardiac Acute Care Unit (CACU) volumes, and we are top 10 in the nation for pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric heart transplant and catheterization procedure volumes.
View below for volume data for Children's cardiac procedures, cardiothoracic surgery cases and catheterization procedures.
Children’s data shows the number of procedures performed from July 2017 to June 2021.
Cardiothoracic surgery is any surgery related to or involving the organs in the chest, primarily the heart and the vessels that bring blood to and from the heart and lungs.
A heart catheterization is a nonsurgical procedure used to find out what kind of heart defect your child may have, its location in the heart and how severe it is. Some heart defects can be treated by a catheterization instead of heart surgery. Our cardiac catheterization team handles one of the largest volumes of pediatric heart catheterizations in the U.S. We offer a complete range of interventional cardiac procedures, including balloon valvuloplasty, angioplasty of vessels, stenting, atrial septal defect (ASD) and ventricular septal defect (VSD) occlusion, and transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement. In 2021, our cardiac catheterization team performed more than 1,200 catheterization procedures, including 515 interventional and 192 diagnostic procedures.
Our survival rates by STAT category and one and three-year survival rates for heart transplant patients surpass the national average. Our average length-of-stay by STAT category is below the national benchmark, as our goal is to get our patients home as soon as possible.
View below for survival rates and length of stay by STAT category and one and three-year survival rates for heart transplant patients at Children's.
STAT category refers to a method of categorizing surgeries based on how risky or complex they are. STAT 1 surgeries include surgeries with the lowest risk of death, while STAT 5 surgeries have the highest risk of death. Examples include:
STAT 1: Patch repair of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) or pulmonary valve replacement
STAT 2: Ross procedure, Fontan procedure, tricuspid valve repair
STAT 3: Complete AV Canal (AVC) repair, Arterial Switch Operation (ASO)
STAT 4: Blalock-Taussig-Thomas (BTT) shunt, heart transplant, truncus arteriosus repair
STAT 5: Norwood procedure
Post-operative length of stay by STAT category
Children's data is based on surgeries performed from July 2017 to June 2021. STS data is also based on surgeries performed from July 2017 to June 2021 as reported in the STS Congenital Heart Surgery Database Report.
The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) performs assessments of transplant outcomes every six months by looking at the outcomes of patients who underwent transplant over two and a half years. According to the SRTR, our Heart Center has a better heart transplant survival rate than the national average.
For heart transplants that were performed at the Children’s Heart Center Jan. 1, 2019 to Mar. 12, 2020 and June 13, 2020 to June 20, 201, 96.67% of pediatric patients were alive with a functioning transplant one year after transplant, compared to a national average of 91.57%.
For heart transplants that were performed at the Children’s Heart Center between July 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2018, 96.67% of pediatric patients were alive with a functioning transplant three years after transplant, compared to a national average of 86.81%.
Survival Rates by Procedure
The following procedures are common cardiothoracic procedures used by STS to compare the performance of surgical centers across the country.
This procedure is an open-heart surgery to correct transposition of the great arteries (TGA). During this surgery, the aorta and pulmonary artery are moved or switched back to the correct ventricle. The coronary arteries are also moved and attached back to the aorta. Children born with TGA will require life-long, follow-up care by a cardiologist.
In addition to moving the aorta and pulmonary artery back to the correct ventricle in the Arterial Switch Operation, the surgeon closes the ventricular septal defect (VSD), or hole, between the two lower chambers of the heart. The coronary arteries are also moved back onto the aorta. Children born with a TGA and VSD will require life-long, follow-up care by a cardiologist.
The surgery for atrioventricular canal (AVC) involves closing a large opening or hole that extends from the upper chambers (atria) to the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. An abnormal common valve is present and is rebuilt into the mitral and tricuspid valves. Children born with AVC will need life-long, follow-up care by a cardiologist.
This surgery is done as the last stage for patients born with a single ventricle, like HLHS. The surgeon connects the child’s inferior vena cava (IVC), a large vein from the lower body, directly to the lung artery to increase oxygen levels and decrease the amount of work placed on the heart. Children born with single ventricle will need life-long follow-up by a cardiologist.
This surgery is generally done as the second stage for patients born with a single ventricle, like HLHS, and occurs when the infant is 4 to 6 months old. The surgeon connects the child’s superior vena cava (SVC), a large vein from the upper body, directly to the lung artery. It allows the SVC to supply the lungs with blood and serves as a shunt, giving the child a few years to grow before the Fontan. Children born with a single ventricle will need life-long follow-up by a cardiologist.
This surgery is needed for patients born with a single ventricle , like HLHS . The Norwood procedure is usually done in the first week of life. A new or “neo” aorta is made from part of the pulmonary artery and the tiny aorta which is enlarged to provide blood flow to the body. A small tube graft is placed either from an artery coming off the aorta to the lung artery (called a modified Blalock-Taussig-Thomas shunt) or from the right ventricle to the lung artery (called a Sano shunt). Children born with a single ventricle will need life-long follow-up by a cardiologist.
This open heart surgery opens up blockage from the right pumping chamber of the heart and closes existing holes. Some infants require a temporary tube supplying blood to the lungs prior to surgery.
This congenital defect requires surgery to detach the pulmonary arteries from the common artery and connect them to the right ventricle using a valve-containing tube. A patch is used to close the ventricular septal defect.
Surgery is required to close a VSD, an abnormal opening between the two lower pumping chambers of the heart. The hole may be closed in a variety of ways depending on its size.
The Future of Pediatric Care
Over the next few years, we are building a new, state-of-the-art campus designed to improve outcomes, help clinicians deliver high-quality care and develop innovative research so that our patients can live healthier lives.