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Rady Children's Specialists

Heart Institute



Here at Rady Children’s Hospital, we have been performing all aspects of pediatric heart surgery for more than 30 years. Our pediatric heart surgeons, as well as the team of perfusionists and pediatric heart anesthesiologists, have been specifically trained by the best programs in the world.

Over the years, they have collectively accumulated as much or more experience as the highest volume centers in California and in the United States. Many of these operations require cardiopulmonary bypass.

From newborn and infant heart surgery, to transplant and ventricular assist device placement, to older teenager and adults with congenital heart disease, you will find experts at Rady Children’s who are specifically trained to achieve the best surgical results.

We are a high-volume program, consistently performing about 500 total procedures each year.

Our results for many common operations as compared with published national averages are below. For information on the conditions treated, click here.

Surgery from January 2014 – December 2017
Source: Table 5 of the STS Harvest report period ending 12/31/2017
Number performed Our Survival** STS Survival**
Norwood Operation 30 96.7% 86.1%
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Repair 34 97.1% 99.8%
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) Repair 87 100.0% 99.4%
AV Canal Defect Repair 54 100.0% 98.1%
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) 93 98.9% 98.2%
Arterial Switch Operation (+/-VSD) 58 96.6% 95.8%
Truncus Arteriosus Repair 14 100.0% 91.6%

**Calculated based on Society for Thoracic Surgeons (STS) definition of Operative Mortality: 1) all deaths, regardless of cause, occurring during the hospitalization in which the operation was performed, even if after 30 days (including patients transferred to other acute care facilities); and 2) all deaths, regardless of cause, occurring after discharge from the hospital, but before the end of the 30th postoperative day.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization plays a major role in the success of our Congenital Cardiovascular Disease Program. Many cases of congenital heart disease are treated solely by intervention in the catheterization laboratory without need for surgery. Interventional catheterization is also employed to improve surgical results and to rescue patients who are struggling after complex surgeries. Furthermore, diagnostic catheterization is essential to provide precise diagnosis in cases when other imaging modalities are not definitive.

At Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, we have been performing all types of cardiac catheterization for more 30 years. Our two interventional cardiologists were trained by one of the founders of interventional cardiac catheterization, Dr. Charles Mullins. Both have more than 15 years of experience and are very active in research and publications.  The catheterization laboratory staff consists of four very experienced radiology technicians and two senior ICU nurses. Our team provides extraordinary care for our patients, and is available 24 hours a day/seven days a week.

The cardiac catheterization laboratory provides care for infants, children and adults with congenital and acquired heart diseases. We perform more than 600 procedures annually, and our laboratory is classified by the National Cardiovascular Data Registry as a high-volume congenital heart disease center. Three quarters of our procedures are interventional.


The Electrophysiology (EP) program at Rady Children’s was started in 1993 and expanded to our affiliate Hawaii program in 1998. Since then, it has developed into one of the top-performing programs in the United States for catheter ablation outcomes, as well as for clinical and translational research efforts.

The EP team is lead by Dr. James Perry, who performed one of the first pediatric catheter ablations in Houston in late 1989. The program has an experienced group of nurses, cath lab technologists, anesthesiologists and surgeons to insure that EP care is both exceptional on a day-to-day basis and also at the cutting edge of innovation. The group recently implanted a long-term arrhythmia monitoring device in the youngest patient in the U.S. at the time to receive one. Clinically, we have a large volume of patients with “channelopathies,” including long QT Syndrome. Dr. Perry is on the medical advisory board of the SADS (sudden arrhythmia death syndrome) Foundation and recently stepped down from a long tenure on the board of the Adult Congenital Heart Association.

The EP program expanded in 2015 with the addition of Dr. Matthew Williams, who trained with us and completed an EP fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. Our outcomes are outstanding, exceeding national published data, and are provided in an environment of personalized care and expertise. The program participates in a number of national multicenter studies, publishes novel approaches for EP care and has provided co-authorship for the guidelines of care for adult congenital heart patients with rhythm issues, asymptomatic Wolff-Parkinson-White patients and also the published standards for electrophysiology labs nationally.

The EP lab strives to provide the best care for EP assessments, catheter ablations, three-dimensional mapping and pacemaker, implantable loop recorder and ICD (defibrillator) implantations. The EP Program is also intimately involved in the care of our Hawaiian patients, in close collaboration with our colleagues at Kapi’olani Women and Children’s Hospital, Straub Clinic, Tripler Medical Center, Queen’s Hospital and Kaiser in Honolulu. We provide EP care in Honolulu four to five weeks each year, as part of a relationship dating back 23 years. Outcomes for EP procedures performed there have matched our successes in San Diego. The EP program is also involved in National Institutes of Health R01-level funded research with the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering, exploring unique means of assessing the relationships between heart structure, function and arrhythmias.

Long-term SVT Ablation Success Post-ablation SVT Recurrence AV Block
San Diego EP Lab (2014-mid 2018)
all SVT cases 98.6% 3.4% 0.0%
left pathways 100% 1.5% 0.0%
septal pathways 95.6% 4.4% 0.0%
right pathways 97.1% 5.9% 0.0%
AV node reentry 100% 2.3% 0.0%
atrial tachy/flutter 94.1% 5.9% 0.0%
multiple SVTs 100% 3.6% 0.0%
Hawaii EP Lab (2014-mid 2018)
all SVT cases 98.2% 1.8% 0.0%