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Cook Children's Heart Center
Cook Children's Heart Center - Because childhood should be simple

Levi was born with a severe combination of heart defects and has undergone 3 surgeries in his lifetime.

He will need another surgery in the next few years but until then, he is living life as a happy, energetic 4-year old.

Brinley was born with a rare congenital heart condition

See how the heart team at Cook Children's gave her a brighter future.

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From the Heart

Cardiac surgeryCook Children's

Cardiothoracic surgery

When it comes to your child, any kind of surgery is concerning. When that surgery is related to the heart, it can be a very frightening time. The cardiothoracic surgeons in the Cook Children's Heart Center are recognized for their skill and expertise.

And, because they perform an average of 400 surgeries each year, they know how challenging it is for you and your child, and they will work closely with you to ensure you understand all your child's surgery will entail and the risks involved in order to provide the best plan of treatment.

Cook Children's cardiothoracic surgeons help diagnose and treat patients with difficult heart and cardiovascular defects. Our Cardiothoracic Surgery program provides complete care for newborns, infants and children with heart and cardiovascular defects. Cook Children's cardiothoracic surgeons also use their extensive experience to treat adults who were born with a heart disease.

Are you prepared for your child's heart surgery?
Knowing what to expect before the day of surgery can help to ease some of your anxiety. From scheduling a preoperative visit to talking to your child to what you need on the day of and the days following surgery, you'll find everything you need to be prepared, here.

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What we treat

Our cardiothoracic surgery team's services include the diagnosis, treatment and repair of congenital heart defects, such as:

Dr. Nikaidoh of the Nikaidoh procedureThe aortic translocation surgery, also known as the Nikaidoh procedure, was developed by Hisashi Nikaidoh, M.D., a member of the Cook Children’s surgical team. Children diagnosed with the rare triad of transposition of the great arteries, ventricular septal defect and pulmonary stenosis have a greatly improved prognosis after undergoing this procedure which involves aortic translocation with reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract.

Vincent Sebastian, M.D. on unifocalization procedureVinod Sebastian, M.D., trained under Frank L. Hanley, M.D. at Stanford Children’s Health, who developed and pioneered the unifocalization procedure. This repairs a complex and potentially fatal congenital defect known as tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia and major aorto-pulmonary collaterals in just one procedure.

Surgical services

Cardiothoracic surgical team
Did you know? Cook Children's cardiothoracic surgical team performs an average of 400 complex surgeries every year.

Aortic translocation
When a child is diagnosed with the rare combination of transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and a ventricular septal defect, an aortic translocation or “the Nikaidoh procedure” is necessary.

With the Nikaidoh Procedure, the aorta is switched, along with the aortic valve, and placed in the pulmonary position. This avoids leaks of a faulty pulmonary valve on the right side. Additionally, it is necessary to mobilize the coronary arteries, as is done in the Arterial Switch Operation. The pulmonary root is divided at the level of the pulmonary valve, which is excised. The outlet septum is excised, thereby removing the superior margin of the VSD. The aortic root is transposed posteriorly so that it lies primarily over the left ventricle. The VSD is closed with a patch, which is anchored to the aortic root at its superior margin. The pulmonary artery is connected to the right ventriculotomy with an anterior patch of pericardium.

The procedure was developed by Hisashi Nikaidoh, M.D. in 1984 as a more effective alternative to the Rastelli procedure.

From 2011 to 2014, Cook Children’s performed 10 of these procedures with 0% mortality, compared to 62 procedures performed nationally, as reported by the STS with a mortality rate of 3.2%.

Unifocalization procedure
This procedure repairs a complex and potentially fatal congenital defect known as tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia and major aorto-pulmonary collaterals in just one procedure. This procedure recreates the child’s pulmonary arteries, making it more likely that the heart can be repaired before the child’s condition worsens which can cause the surgery to be more difficult, or even impossible.

Cook Children’s Heart Center is one of a few pediatric heart programs in the country to perform the unifocalization procedure, specifically on neonates and infants.

Cardiothoracic surgical team

Tam, Vincent K.H. M.D.

Tam, Vincent K.H. M.D.
Medical Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery
View physician biography

Nikaidoh, Hisashi M.D.

Nikaidoh, Hisashi M.D.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon
View physician biography

Vinod Sebastian, M.D.

Vinod Sebastian, M.D.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon
View physician biography

Volumes and outcomes

Society of Thoracic Surgeons logo

We participate in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) national pediatric cardiac database and actively pursue continuous quality improvement. It is difficult to benchmark pediatric outcomes because of the variety of types of congenital heart surgery.

Surgical volumes
Mortality by STAT


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We're here to help.

If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. For resources, education or more information on support, click here. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-2140.

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