Phone: (302) 651-4200
Hours: Monday - Friday,
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Heart Surgery
- Heart Transplant
- Preventive Cardiology
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Diagnostic Tests, Cardiology
Phone: (302) 651-4200
Phone: (302) 651-4200
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Who We Are
When little hearts need help and parents need hope, Nemours is here. Families from across the country – and around the world – come to our renowned Nemours Cardiac Center, located in the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE – ranked among the nation’s best in pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery by U.S. News & World Report.
At the Nemours Cardiac Center, we know that it’s often the tiniest hearts that need the most help – from the start. So we’ve assembled some of the country’s very best pediatric cardiac expertise and technology. And everyone on our care team works only with children with heart conditions, so you’ll know your child is being treated by true specialists.
Our Nemours Cardiac Center care team brings together the expertise of our:
- board-certified pediatric cardiac surgeons and transplant experts
- board-certified pediatric cardiologists (children’s heart doctors) — including interventional cardiologists (doctors who repair heart problems without surgery) and electrophysiology cardiologists (doctors who evaluate and treat abnormal heart rhythms)
- board-certified pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists
- pediatric critical care experts
- nurses and nurse specialists
- social workers
Our cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons are members of the academic faculty of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia – teaching the physicians of tomorrow. We’ve pioneered advances in pediatric cardiovascular care and preventive cardiology. And we’re active in publishing and presenting throughout the country and the world.
Our team also works closely with any other specialists your child may need, like gastroenterologists and registered dietitians .We’ll also take care of details like critical care transport from other health care facilities, insurance, and financial arrangements. And we’ll keep your primary care physician or pediatrician fully up-to-date at all times.
The Nemours Cardiac Center is a state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary center located within within the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Our pediatric cardiac center features:
- 14-bed cardiac intensive care unit (CICU), with a full complement of specialists and sophisticated equipment to monitor your child and adjust treatment at all times
- 18-bed nursing unit for children who require less intensive care , with private rooms equipped to create a home away from home and to accommodate one parent rooming in with their child at all times
- our own operating room, used exclusively for pediatric cardiac surgery
- digital cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology suite
Every phase of our pediatric cardiac treatment and hospitalization is intended to keep you with your child — and to take some of the anxiety and fear out of the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation process. Our vibrant, kid-friendly rooms are designed to feel like your home-away-from-home. For your little one’s comfort, each patient room features a private bathroom, bulletin board to display cards or artwork, telephone, TV, and DVD player.
You’re welcome to stay with your child overnight — we’ll provide cots as needed. If your child needs more critical care, our Cardiac Intensive Care Unit rooms have full beds so you can be available, day and night, when your child needs you the most.
After all, no one knows your child better than you. That’s why we believe in a strong doctor-parent partnership and offering “family-centered care.” That just means we want you to be an active participant in the decision-making process. And we’ll take the time to explain the diagnosis and treatment in understandable terms, present all of the options, invite your family’s input for creating the right treatment plan for your child, and encourage you to stay by your child’s side as much as possible.
Families also appreciate our convenient location and beautiful grounds at duPont Hospital for Children – located in a park-like setting of huge oaks and inviting green lawns. You’ll also find:
- free valet parking
- kid-friendly waiting areas
- little red wagons (available for escorting your young children)
- gift shop
- café and cafeteria
- on-site pharmacy
- Family Resource Center (with laundry facilities, showers, kitchenettes, library, business center, and three sleep rooms with a full-sized bed)
Advanced Early Detection
Using the very latest, most advanced technologies, the Nemours Cardiac Center specializes in early detection and repair so that your child can have the healthiest future possible.
We offer a full range of diagnostic tests which, depending on your child’s age and condition, may include:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): a test that can detect problems with the electrical activity of your child’s heart
- Holter monitoring: a portable version of an EKG that allows continuous monitoring of the electrical activity of your child’s cardiovascular system for at least 24 hours
- Echocardiogram: our most frequently used imaging tool, used in our echocardiography lab, which is accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (the country’s highest level of achievement in the specialty)
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cardiovascular computed tomography (CT) scans of the heart: imaging tools that allow us to get a glimpse of the interior structure of your child’s heart
- Exercise stress testing: a screening tool used to test the effect of exercise on the heart
Many children with critical heart disease can be diagnosed before birth (in utero) or soon after. Our cardiologists perform in-depth cardiac ultrasounds (fetal echocardiography or “fetal echo"), which allows us to view the structure, function, and rhythm of a baby’s heart while still in the mother’s womb — as early as the 18th week.
If we detect a fetal heart condition during pregnancy, our Nemours Cardiac Center’s fetal cardiology team will work together with your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) or maternal-fetal specialist (also called perinatologist, a board-certified obstetrician with special training in high-risk pregnancies). We’ll educate you about your baby’s condition and help you plan for care that might be required after birth.
Our cardiac team provides first-class open-heart surgery, as well as advanced non-surgical approaches like cardiac catheterization (when a thin plastic, flexible tube — called a “catheter” — is inserted into a blood vessel in the leg that leads to the heart). Cardiac catheterization may be used for the diagnosis or treatment of your child’s heart condition. If your child needs a catheterization, the procedure can be performed by one of our cardiologists at any time of the day or night in our state-of-the-art digital cardiac catheterization suite.
Our heart surgeons are at the very forefront of pediatric cardiology – contributing to the ongoing advances in pediatric heart surgery. But we always strive to minimize the number of operations our young patients need. The techniques and advances we use can help your little one avoid the trauma and recovery time of open-heart surgery.
In some complex cases, members of our team work together to perform both open-heart surgery and interventional catheterization (sometimes called “therapeutic catheterization”) procedures in the same setting. By offering this kind of combined treatment option (typically called a “hybrid procedure”), we’re improving the outlook for scores of children — all with less discomfort, faster recovery time, and shorter hospital stays. And we’re proud to be one of only a mere handful of centers in the United States where these combo treatment capabilities are available.
At the Nemours Cardiac Center, our team works together to provide expert, comprehensive care for children with end-stage heart disease. Since some children can’t be treated successfully with medication or surgery, heart transplantation might be the answer. Our surgeons are among the best in pediatric and infant heart transplant procedures if your child needs a new heart.
Our pediatric heart transplant program performed the first heart transplant in the state of Delaware. Our specialists from cardiology and cardiac surgery lead a team of advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians (nutritionists), social workers, and child life specialists to provide heart transplant care for children and their families before, during, and after the surgery.
Nemours also has an active Mechanical Circulatory Support Program that provides Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (or ECMO) – a system that temporarily acts as a child’s heart and lungs. We also offer Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) – mechanical pumps that take over the work of the damaged chamber (ventricle) of the heart. This includes the Berlin Heart (a pump device that comes in various sizes to accommodate children). These assistive devices are used for patients who require “artificial” heart support while waiting for a heart transplant or for their own heart problems to improve.
Most (about two-thirds of) children with heart disease have a “congenital” heart defect (also known as “congenital heart disease” – when a baby is born with a heart that didn’t develop normally or completely in the early weeks of pregnancy. But other kids may have something called an “acquired” heart condition – when a heart problem develops at some point between infancy and adolescence.
Finding out that your child has a congenital heart defect can be frightening. You’re probably worried, stressed, and filled with questions about what the diagnosis really means. But you’re not alone – congenital heart disease is actually fairly common. In fact, more than 35,000 babies in the United States are born with a heart defect each year.
To ease some of your concerns and understand what might be involved with your child’s condition and treatment, see:
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Aortic Stenosis
- Atrial Septal Defects
- Coarctation of the Aorta
- Complete Common Atrioventricular Canal Defect
- Ebstein's Anomaly
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
- Interrupted Aortic Arch
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Pulmonary Artery Sling
- Pulmonary Stenosis
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
- Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return
- Transposition of the Great Arteries
- Tricuspid Atresia
- Truncus Arteriosus
- Ventricular Septal Defects
Preventing Future Heart Problems
At the Nemours Cardiac Center, we also have a team of experts working in the area of preventive cardiology services. Our goal is to minimize or completely prevent cardiac problems down the road.
We evaluate and counsel children of all ages who may be at risk for future heart problems associated with being overweight, or having high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia). Our cardiologists will perform a complete cardiovascular risk evaluation, including a thorough medical history, family history, and comprehensive physical exam, with diagnostic testing as needed.
We’ll work with you to develop a personalized management plan that encourages practical lifestyle changes to reduce your child’s likelihood of future cardiovascular disease. And we’ll keep your child’s primary care physician informed every step of the way.
The Nemours Cardiac Center performs more than 200 surgeries each year to treat congenital cardiovascular disease (CCD) in children. To give kids with all kinds of heart conditions the very best care, our Center for Cardiac Research participates in a multitude of research studies – all with the goal of improving care for children with congenital heart disease and other cardiac-related conditions.
We conduct pediatric heart studies in collaboration with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, other researchers at local hospitals and universities, and organizations such as the Pediatric Heart Network and the Congenital Heart Surgeons’ Society.
Through all of our research, we’re committed to advancing pediatric heart care by:
- Developing alternatives to organ transplantation and non-adaptive synthetic grafts
- Improving tissue survival and function
- Improving diagnostics for post-surgical outcomes
- Improving post-surgical (after surgery) therapy
The Center for Cardiac Research engages in clinical research in three areas:
- clinical research in congenital heart disease: Projects in this area relate to the outcomes (results) of cardiovascular surgery and interventional cardiology procedures.
- basic research: Our efforts focus on understanding the genetic and/or environmental causes of cardiac malformations in children.
- preventive cardiology: We’re internationally recognized for investigations into preventive cardiology and maintain a leadership role in national efforts to prevent heart disease. Our collaborations keep Nemours programs highly visible in national efforts in obesity and preventive cardiology. Findings from these studies will be important in understanding early end organ injury from cardiovascular risk factors.
In addition, Nemours’ Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine (TERM) Lab investigates pediatric disorders affecting muscle. The overall goal is to improve health outcomes for children with acquired and congenital diseases associated with muscle malformation or malfunction, including cardiac and vascular muscle insufficiency in patients with congenital cardiovascular disease (CCD).
Nemours often offers clinical trials related to cardiology. A clinical trial is a study that evaluates new medicines, new devices, new treatments, or new applications for old treatments.
Clinical trials are safe and supervised by a qualified physician, under strict guidance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Patient safety is extremely important to the FDA, to those conducting the studies, and to everyone at Nemours. In a clinical trial, children participating in the study are monitored closely – and families may refuse any aspect of the study treatment or completely discontinue their child’s participation in the clinical trial at any time.
One area of focus for our clinical trial work is on the outcomes of cardiovascular surgery and interventional cardiology procedures.
For information about current clinical trials in:
- Wilmington, DE, call: (302) 651-6800 or (302) 651-6808