How to Choose a Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon

The best pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon has expertise from performing hundreds of surgeries each year, ranging from simple corrections to major repairs.


Excellent pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons are confident, precise, and have technical ability, sound judgment, and can solve complex problems quickly under pressure. The best surgeons have expertise that comes from performing hundreds of open heart and other heart surgeries each year, ranging from the correction of simple heart defects to major repairs of the most complex conditions.

Access to Cutting Edge Research

Good heart surgeons are curious and excited about the latest research findings. The development of innovative new treatment options allow them to perform surgeries that were considered impossible a few years ago. Great surgeons quickly adapt to master the latest techniques like the Berlin Heart, the HeartWare System, and advances including the Melody Valve. Motivated surgeons may even pioneer better ways to both save and improve the lives of their patients.

A Strong Supporting Team

Top surgeons are leaders who are surrounded by a great team of specialists, including

  • Pediatric cardiologists
  • Intensive care specialists
  • Cardiac anesthesiologists
  • Perfusionists
  • Surgical technicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Administrative assistants

This entire team is dedicated to patients with congenital heart disease and other rare heart conditions. The ability to collaborate and to freely share ideas with a larger cardiology team is a huge benefit to pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons. When everyone in a heart center understands the needs of a patient, more efficient and effective care is given before, during, and after surgery.


Emotional support for patients and their families is every bit as important to the healing process as the physical care. Great surgeons care deeply about their patients, showing kindness and compassion every step of the way.

So what makes an exceptional pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon? At Primary Children’s Hospital, we believe it’s all of the above.

And, the proof is in our outcomes. Primary Children’s Heart Center is:

  • One of the busiest centers in the country, performing over 520 heart surgeries in 2013.
  • Our cardiac surgery survival rate tops 98%, ranking us in the top 10% in the nation.
  • Our Norwood operation survival rate is at 92%, which exceeds the Society of Thoracic Surgeons national standard, and our Arterial Switch operation survival rate is 100%.