The Penn State Health Children’s Heart Group
Penn State Health Children's Heart Group is a team of experienced pediatric cardiologists and congenital heart surgeons based out of Penn State Health Children's Hospital. Our group provides comprehensive care for patients with congenital (present at birth) or acquired (developed after birth) heart disease. We evaluate children with chest pain, palpitations and fainting, diagnose and manage arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy and acquired disease such as endocarditis, myocarditis and Kawasaki’s Disease.
Our team is proud to provide among the best quality of care and surgical outcomes in the country, as reflected by our recognition in state and national surveys. We also provide our patients throughout central Pennsylvania with the convenience of receiving care locally.
Inpatient and Outpatient Care
Our team is dedicated to diagnosing and treating children of all ages - from infants to young adults. We offer care in both inpatient (inside Penn State Health Children’s Hospital) and outpatient (outside the hospital) settings. We offer a full range of services from diagnosing heart disease or defects, to treatment and surgery
International Missionary Program
In 1998 our team from Penn State Health Children’s Hospital began taking a team of nearly 40 medical providers to the Hospital de Ninos Roberto Gilbert to provide cardiology evaluation, education and perform open heart surgery, in babies and children. For over 15 years, the Children's Lifeline Program (an international children’s charity) sponsored our mission trips. During those next 15 years, we evaluated over 5,000 children and performed over 350 open heart operations and at the same time, we began working with their hospital staff and administration to foster the development of their own independent cardiovascular program. The hospital pursued further building of their heart program by sending their cardiologists, intensivists, anesthesiologists, heart-lung machine perfusionists and nurses to pediatric heart surgery programs in Central and South America, Europe and Canada, where they received specialized training. The team has realized remarkable success towards these goals. Over the last six years, we no longer bring a large team. Rather, in order to realize a mutual exchange of patient care, education and development efforts, we still go for two weeks in early November and one to two weeks in March. We often bring six to eight physicians, specialists, fellows and students on each trip. We work each day with the cardiology and cardiac surgical teams, have daily conferences and teach and assist the surgeons with complicated and challenging open-heart operations.
They are now performing over 200 heart operations each year (a little over 1,300 patients since 2014). Many patients present to the hospital very sick or they have complicated heart problems. These are high risk patients even for us in the United States. Despite these problems, they have achieved excellent results. They have outstanding cardiology and cardiac surgery teams who are dedicated to achieving excellent outcomes, as well as reducing costs and hospital length of stay.
The Penn State Health Approach to Cardiology Care
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has provided compassionate, expert heart care to infants, children and adults in central Pennsylvania, with congenital heart disease since the hospital was founded in 1963. Our services have been based out of Penn State Health Children’s Hospital since construction was completed in 2012. We serve our patients by reaching out to every corner of central Pennsylvania through a network of 13 clinics.
Comprehensive Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing and treating heart conditions takes an experienced, multidisciplinary team. We work jointly with our colleagues in the Penn State Health Perinatal Center and the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program, an active part of the Penn State Health Heart and Vascular Institute, since 1991. We diagnose and treat cardiac disease through all ages, from the developing fetus, to newborns, children, teenagers and adults who have congenital heart defects. Identifying and managing heart problems before birth helps us improve the infant's short and long term outcome and helps our doctors and families develop a treatment plan together.
With pediatric cardiologists in every subspecialty (including interventional catheterization, arrhythmias/electrophysiology, non-invasive imaging, pulmonary hypertension, single ventricle, cardiac genetics, cardiac neurodevelopment, fetal cardiology, preventative cardiology and weight management), our team of experts have experience treating all heart defects and conditions. In addition to the cardiologists and congenital cardiothoracic surgeons, our team also includes physician assistants, pediatric cardiac intensivists, pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist, PhD’s and fellows in training.
Non-invasive diagnostic tools to test for heart problems include:
- Transthoracic, transesophageal, fetal and 3D echocardiograms
- Holter, event and loop monitor studies
- Stress tests and stress echocardiograms (treadmill testing)
- Tilt tests
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Cardiac, computed tomography (CT) scans
Advanced Surgical Care
When surgery is necessary, our cardiologists work directly with the pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital to help develop a treatment plan. Our physicians are equipped with the latest, state of the art equipment and have access to interventional cath techniques such as the “piccolo device” for PDA closures in preterm infants, leadless pacemakers and 3D reconstruction of hearts for preoperative planning.
Center for Congenital Heart Care
At Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, we are dedicated to helping your child live and maintain an active lifestyle for as long as possible. Our center can provide you with both surgical, as well as nonsurgical options for treating your child’s heart disease. When surgery is needed, we have the experience and expertise to help give you peace of mind. Our team of congenital heart defect specialists will work with you and your child to create a treatment and rehabilitation plan which meets your child’s needs. We understand that each child is unique and believe that treatment plans should be personalized to your child's needs.
Our Experts at the Children’s Heart Group
The experts at Penn State Health Children's Heart Group provide compassionate treatment for children and teens with a wide range of heart issues.
Why Choose Penn State Health Children’s Group for Heart Care
Families from across the region come to us to get unmatched care and services for pediatric heart care and congenital heart defects.
Nationally Recognized Care for Congenital Heart Disease
Penn State Health Children’s Hospital offers a level of expertise and breadth of services you won’t find anywhere else nearby. You can count on top-quality care from an experienced team. Penn State Health Children’s Heart Group is ranked among the Top 15 in the country for survival after a heart operation (Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Congenital Heart Surgery Database) and we’re recognized as Best Children’s Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery.
Innovative Research and Clinical Trials
Through Penn State Health, patients of the Children’s Heart Group have access to tomorrow’s treatments for congenital heart defects and heart surgery. We are dedicated to improving the understanding of diseases and enhancing treatment and prevention of childhood illnesses through our research. When you come here, you get the latest, researched-backed care. Find out if a clinical trial is right for you.
A camp for kids with special hearts
Camp Lionheart is a summer camp held annually for children 12 through 18 years of age with heart disease. Boys and girls with repaired congenital heart defects or cardiomyopathies have an opportunity to learn about their hearts and physical abilities in the company of other children with heart disease. The camp is held at Camp Kirchenwald, located near Colebrook PA (about 10 miles southeast of Penn State Health Children’s Hospital) each year during the last week of July.
Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.
Our Convenient Locations
Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.Find a Location Near You