Heart Failure

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Heart Failure


Coordinated, Expert Care for HF in Children


Little girl recovered from heart failure reading next to a big stuffed bear.

Heart failure is a generic term for any situation in which the heart can’t pump an adequate amount of blood. "Congestive heart failure" in children occurs when blood gets backed up, or “congested” as it attempts to enter a heart that isn’t working well.   When a child develops symptoms of heart failure, it can progress slowly or rapidly depending on the cause. Effective management of your child’s heart failure begins with proper diagnosis. In the 

Nemours Cardiac Center, our pediatric heart care experts — plus our extended pediatric Nemours team of more than 30 additional specialties — work together with your family to find the cause of your child’s symptoms. 

If your child is diagnosed with HF, our board-certified, fellowship-trained pediatric cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons (specialists in surgical procedures of the chest, including the heart and lungs) are here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and offer treatment options, including expert long-term medication management and heart transplants. Our cardiac teams offer the latest in research-backed care, delivered with compassion.

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Conditions We Treat That May Cause Heart Failure

Conditions We Treat That May Cause Heart Failure


Heart failure in children usually happens because of an underlying condition or illness, but there are some babies who have HF because of a congenital (present at birth) heart defect. We see a full spectrum of conditions — far too many to list here. The conditions we treat vary depending upon the location and providers selected. Don’t see a condition listed? Call us.

Services We Offer for Heart Failure

Services We Offer for Heart Failure


The expert teams in our Nemours Cardiac Center locations offer a full range of pediatric heart care to diagnose and treat heart failure. Services vary by specialist and location, but may include:

  • Cardiology. Your child’s heart specialist will use different types of medicines to help the heart function better, while they coordinate care with Nemours experts in more than 30 specialties to make a treatment plan just for your child.
  • Cardiac Catheterization. A procedure used to diagnose or treat cardiac problems by inserting a thin plastic, flexible tube (called a “catheter”) into an artery or vein and threading it through the bloodstream into the heart and its large blood vessels. 
  • Cardiac Diagnostics and Kid-Friendly Imaging. State-of-the-art, noninvasive, and minimally invasive tests for kids of all ages, including babies still in the womb. 
  • ECMO. Also known as extracorporeal life support or “ECLS,” this treats serious problems and uses the technology to give hearts and lungs a chance to rest and heal.
  • Cardiovascular Genetics Counseling. Your child may have higher risks of some conditions due to inherited (passed from parent to child) genes. 
  • Heart Surgery. If medications aren’t enough, your child’s heart specialist may recommend an implantable device like a pacemaker to help the heart beat more regularly.  
  • Preventive Cardiology. Pediatric cardiologists work together with your family to create a plan to help avoid some future problems through lifestyle and nutrition support.  
  • Heart Transplants (available in the Delaware Valley only). If your child needs a transplant, we have the experience and resources to support transplant recipients in the short- and long-term. 
Why Choose Us for Heart Failure Treatment

Why Choose Us for Heart Failure Treatment


World-class pediatric heart care requires the compassion to understand your family's journey, and the expertise to manage even the most complex conditions. The Nemours Cardiac Center provides diagnosis and treatment options for children with heart failure by working together in dedicated cardiac teams — and working closely with Nemours specialists in more than 30 additional disciplines when needed. With today’s medications and surgical advances, many babies born with heart defects and other conditions that cause heart failure can lead active lives. Our specialty is the early detection and repair of heart problems, so your child will have the best possible chance for a healthy future. 

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Regional Heart Failure Treatment Highlights 

Services, programs, facilities and care teams differ at each location. Call for details.

Ranked among best children's hospitals for cardiac care.

We offer care for newborns, children and teens with heart failure at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (Wilmington, Del.) and select Nemours duPont Pediatrics locations.

The Nemours Cardiac Center located at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children is ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News and World Report.

If your child’s heart failure is due to cardiomyopathy, the Cardiac Center is also a designated Accredited Center of Care by The Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation Program . This recognizes medical centers with expertise in pediatric cardiomyopathy who provide high-quality cardiac care and specialized disease management to children with cardiomyopathy.

Our Palliative and Supportive Care Program located at duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware provides compassionate care for families and children coping with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions. 

We offer care for newborns, children and teens with heart failure at Nemours Children’s Hospital (Orlando) and select Nemours Children’s Specialty Care locations.  

Our renowned pediatric cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery team at the Nemours Cardiac Center in Central Florida offers inpatient, critical and surgical care at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando — including dedicated cardiac anesthesiologists and state-of-the-art cardiac intensive care unit (CICU). 

If your child’s heart failure is due to cardiomyopathy, our Cardiac Center in Delaware is a designated Accredited Center of Care by The Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation Program , and Florida is also in the process. This recognizes medical centers with expertise in pediatric cardiomyopathy who provide high-quality cardiac care and specialized disease management to children with cardiomyopathy.

We offer care for children of all ages with heart failure at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Pensacola and our hospital affiliate, West Florida Healthcare, with outpatient and follow-up appointments also available at select Nemours Children’s Specialty Care locations.

Our Nemours Cardiac Center in Pensacola is home to one of the few accredited pediatric transthoracic and fetal echocardiography labs in Florida and, if needed, can facilitate the transfer of extremely ill children between our Nemours Cardiac Center locations (e.g., to Nemours Children’s Hospital).  

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Research & Clinical Trials

At Nemours, we’re actively researching new approaches for childhood disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

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KidsHealth Library

Learn more about your child’s medical condition from the experts at Nemours’ KidsHealth.