Pediatric Heart Care

Every year, nearly one in 100 babies is born with congenital heart disease, making it the most common birth defect in the United States. UNC Children’s board-certified physicians and related specialists are leaders in caring for children with congenital heart disease and acquired heart conditions. We’ll work closely with your family to provide advanced treatments, so your child can enjoy a healthy, active life.

Whether your baby has not yet been born or is filling out college applications, you’ll get comprehensive, compassionate, family-centered care from UNC Children’s board-certified specialists at the N.C. Children’s Heart Center at locations across North Carolina.

A New Path Forward

What We Treat

Pediatric Heart Conditions We Treat

At UNC Children’s, you’ll find comprehensive care for nearly every pediatric heart disease, including:

  • Arrhythmia – Irregular heart rhythm
  • Cardiomyopathy – Enlarged or thickened heart muscle tissue
  • Congenital heart disease – An abnormality of the heart or blood vessels present at birth, including:
    • Anomalous coronary artery
    • Aortic stenosis (AS)
    • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
    • Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD)
    • Bicuspid Aortic Valve (BAV)
    • Coarctation of the aorta (COA)
    • Double outlet right ventricle (DORV)
    • Ebstein's anomaly
    • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
    • Interrupted aortic arch (IAA)
    • Mitral valve prolapse (MVP)
    • Mitral valve insufficiency
    • Partial anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR)/ Scimitar syndrome
    • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
    • Pulmonary stenosis (PS)
    • Pulmonary atresia (PA/VSD) with ventricular septal defect
    • Pulmonary atresia (PA/IVS) with intact ventricular septum
    • Single ventricle (functionally univentricular heart)
    • Tetralogy of fallot (TOF)
    • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR)
    • Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)
    • Tricuspid atresia
    • Truncus arteriosus
    • Vascular rings
    • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Endocarditis
  • Viral infections
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Connective tissue disorders – Marfan syndrome, MASS syndrome, Loewys-Dietz syndrome, and Ehlers Danlos syndrome
  • Cardiac abnormalities related to Turner syndrome
  • Cardiac abnormalities related to chemotherapy and radiation
  • Chest pain
  • Syncope/passing out
  • Shortness of breath with exercise

Expert Care

Experts in Children’s Heart Care

Children’s heart conditions are different from adult heart conditions. UNC Children’s heart specialists have the expertise and experience to diagnose and safely repair even the smallest hearts.

When you choose UNC Children’s for pediatric heart care, your team may include:

  • Pediatric cardiologist – Diagnoses and cares for infants, children, teens and young adults with heart conditions
  • Pediatric cardiac surgeon – Repairs birth defects of the heart in newborns, infants, children, and adults and performs heart transplants when needed
  • Cardiac imaging specialist – Pediatric cardiologists or radiologists with special training in advanced methods for evaluating the structure and function of the heart
  • Pediatric electrophysiologist – IBHRE certified heart rhythm specialist offering the latest in non-invasive and minimally invasive therapies with state-of-the-art 3D electro-anatomical mapping technology for the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Pediatric interventional cardiologist – Provides advanced, minimally invasive treatment to patients with complex congenital heart disease
  • Cardiac anesthesia team – Anesthesiologists who have additional training and expertise in caring for individuals with heart disease
  • Cardiac intensivist – Doctor with expertise in cardiac critical care
  • Adult congenital heart disease specialist – Cares for adults who were born with congenital heart disease
  • Certified pediatric nurse practitioner – Diagnoses illnesses, prescribes medication, conducts routine check-ups, and answers your healthcare questions
  • Registered diagnostic cardiac sonographers – Uses ultrasound to assess your child’s heart
  • Nurses – Provide and coordinate care, including before and after surgery
  • Social worker
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech therapists
  • Dietitian
  • Child-life specialists

We’re here for you whenever you need us. A pediatric cardiologist is available 24/7 for new and established patients.


Pediatric Cardiology Services & Treatments

About half of children with congenital heart disease need surgery. UNC Children’s offers the full range of surgical treatments, including heart defect repair surgeries for newborns. Not all children with heart conditions need surgery, though, and you’ll find safe, effective treatments for them, too. Take advantage of:

  • Prenatal consultations for known or suspected congenital heart disease
  • Heart disease diagnosis and management
  • Cardiac imaging
    • Echocardiogram – Creates a detailed image of the beating heart using noninvasive ultrasound imaging; can pinpoint structural defects or abnormalities in the way blood flows
      • Fetal echocardiogram – Evaluates a baby’s heart before birth
      • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) – Uses a tiny ultrasound transducer attached to a flexible tube (probe) that’s guided down the throat
      • Transthorasic echocadiogram - imaging the heart from outside the chest
      • Three-dimensional echocardiogram – Shows 3D videos of the heart beating; may be used to better assess shape and volume of heart chambers
    • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – Allows for more detailed visualization and quantitative analysis of the four chambers of the heart from every point of view without any exposure to radiation
    • Cardiac computed tomography (CT) – Creates a 3D picture of the heart using multiple X-ray images
    • Angiography – Dye injected into a vessel of the body during cardiac catheterization and displayed using X-ray
  • Cardiac catheterization – Uses images to guide a thin flexible tube called a catheter through a vein or artery into the heart; may be used to diagnose or non-surgically treat heart conditions, such as balloon angioplasty, balloon valvuloplasty, coil embolization, trans-catheter stenting, catheter closure of congenital heart defects, and endomyocardial biopsy
  • Electrophysiology studies – Evaluate heart rhythm and treat arrhythmias by a thin flexible tube called a catheter guided through a vein into the heart
  • Fetal therapy for fetal arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm in unborn baby)
  • Interventional cardiology procedures – Treat heart disease using minimally invasive catheter-based techniques.
  • Pediatric heart surgery
  • Pediatric heart transplant
  • Sports participation evaluations – Assesses your child’s ability to safely participate in sports.
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise stress testing – Complex test performed on a treadmill or bicycle to measure health of heart, lungs, and muscle, as well as screen for arrhythmias or lack of oxygen to heart muscle
  • Stress echocardiography – Ultrasound images of the heart obtained at rest and peak exercise evaluating for signs of lack of oxygen to heart muscle or the body
  • Preventative heart disease – Evaluation and treatment for high blood pressure and high cholesterol

Because we also care for adults with congenital heart disease, your child can get lifelong specialized cardiac care at UNC Medical Center.

UNC Pediatrics Chair Dr. Stephanie Duggins Davis discusses the life-saving work being done within the Heart Program at UNC Children's through cardiology care and congenital heart surgery.

Watch video

Find Family-Centered Care at UNC

At UNC Children’s, you’ll find friendly, compassionate staff who are experts at working with children and families. We’ll do our best to ease your anxiety, help you understand your child’s medical condition so you can make informed choices about their care, and offer whatever additional support you need. You can help make your experience go as smoothly as possible by exploring our patients and visitors section to learn about:


UNC Cystic Fibrosis Family Newsletter

We are always looking for ways to keep you better informed. Take a look at the CF Family Newsletter, published quarterly. You can help make the newsletter even better but sharing any ideas for the next newsletter or submitting an article to include. If you have a contribution, please contact Kelly Moormann.

Spring 2022

Fall 2021

Spring 2022 CF Family Newsletter Fall 2021 CF Family Newsletter

Ask for A Referral

You’ll need a physician’s referral for pediatric heart care at UNC. For more information, talk to your doctor, or call us at 984-974-4601.

Pediatric Heart Patient Stories

  • Pediatric Heart Patient Jet Leahy with his mother Suzi

    Diagnosed with a congenital heart condition while still in utero, Jett Leahy was given little chance of survival, but he beat the odds with help from UNC Children's heart program and other specialists at N.C. Children's Hospital.

    Read More

  • Pediatric Heart Patient Margot Halpin

    Multiple prenatal conditions threatened the life of Margot Halpin, but pediatric heart surgery experts and her pediatric cardiology team at UNC Children’s helped her survive and thrive.

    Read More

  • Pediatric Heart Patient Carter Mae Kennedy

    A rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and a trip to UNC Urgent Care led to a diagnosis of a rare case of cancer that had spread to Carter Mae Kennedy's heart.

    Read More

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