Programs and research

Top-ranked programs

UW Health Kids offers specialized clinics and programs to treat children of all ages, including babies whose heart issue is detected before birth. Our specialists care for children with heart defects from birth through their toddler and teenage years. Many patients continue their care with us as adults.

From early interventions to prevent heart disease to heart transplantation, you can be confident in the care your child will receive. National organizations rank our program among the best in the country. Our outcomes show that our patients do better than others when compared to others across the nation.

Our programs and clinics

Our congenital heart surgery program received the highest rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Newborns to teenagers benefit from our robust program.

Learn more about newborn heart surgery

We care for people affected with inherited or genetic conditions such as:

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

  • Loeys-Dietz syndrome

  • Marfan syndrome

We screen and diagnose heart conditions before birth. We partner with you to develop a care plan for birth, any procedure or surgery that may be required, as well as your child’s ongoing heart care.

Learn more

The AFCH multi-disciplinary Fontan clinic is a specialized clinic for children or teenagers that have had the Fontan operation. In this clinic, you will see several specialists.

The goal of the clinic is to improve care, reduce the number of appointments, coordinate testing, improve communication among health care providers and provide a unified treatment plan.

Most patients will be seen about 1 year after their Fontan operation, then about every 2-3 years after that.

Clinic providers:
(you will not meet with everyone, depending on the care you need)

  • Cardiology

  • Pulmonary (lungs)

  • Hepatology (liver)

  • MRI

  • Neuropsychology

  • Social Work

  • School Liaison

Other specialists including: exercise physiology, nutrition, child life therapy, psychology/psychiatry


There will be tests needed before the clinic appointment. A nurse or scheduler will contact you to schedule these tests. We ask that these tests are done 1-2 weeks before your appointment so that the providers can review the results before your clinic visit.

Possible tests:

  • Echocardiogram

  • ECG

  • Holter monitor

  • Exercise test

  • MRI - cardiac and liver

  • FibroScan (liver test)

  • Lab tests

  • PFTs (pulmonary function tests)

Learn more about our approach

We treat genetic (passed through families) heart rhythm disorders.

We care for children with risk factors for early heart disease. We help kids reduce or get rid of risk factors, like high cholesterol, that may cause heart disease.

Our pediatric heart transplant team gives advanced, high-quality care to children who need a ventricular assist device or new heart.

Learn more

We care for adults born with heart conditions. We have a program to help kids transition to adult care.

We care for children diagnosed with, or at risk for, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which affects the heart’s electrical system.

Partners in care

Many diseases and disorders can affect your child’s heart. To ensure your child gets the very best heart care, we work with doctors across other UW Health clinics and programs. The clinics and programs we partner with include:

  • UW Health Kids Brain Care Clinic 

  • UW Health Kids Metabolic Syndrome Clinic 

  • UW Health Kids Neuromuscular Disorders Clinic 

  • UW Health Kids Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic

  • Turner Syndrome Clinic

Smiling child with sign reading UW Health Kids
UW Health Kids
Our pediatric experts have served the special needs of children for more than 100 years. We focus on each child’s unique needs and offer social and emotional support to help you and your child face even the most complex condition. Our long history includes the creation of medical advances that save lives around the world. Together, we get your child back to health and enjoying being a kid.

Conditions and treatments

Care for every heart

Some children are born with a heart condition. These heart conditions are called congenital. Children can also develop heart conditions as they age. These are called acquired heart conditions. Heart conditions can also be inherited — or passed down from family members.

Conditions we treat

UW Health Kids heart specialists treat a full range of congenital and acquired heart conditions. With some highly specialized services, care might not be available at all of our clinic locations in Wisconsin and Illinois.

  • High LDL (low-density lipoprotein)

  • Familial hypercholesterolemia (inherited high cholesterol in children)

  • High triglycerides

  • Low HDL (high-density lipoprotein)

  • Elevated lipoprotein(a)

Learn more
  • Anomalous coronary artery

  • Aortic regurgitation

  • Aortic stenosis

  • Aortopulmonary window

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)

  • Atrioventricular canal defect (AV canal)

  • Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV)

  • Blalock-Thomas-Taussig shunt

  • Coarctation of the aorta

  • Coronary artery fistula

  • Damus-Kaye-Stansel procedure

  • Dextrocardia

  • Double inlet left ventricle (DORV)

  • Ebstein’s anomaly

  • Fontan procedure

  • Glenn procedure

  • Hypoplastic heart syndrome (left and right)

  • Interrupted aortic arch

  • Left ventricular outflow tract obstruction

  • Mitral regurgitation

  • Mitral stenosis

  • Mitral valve prolapse

  • Norwood procedure

  • Partial anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR)

  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)

  • Pulmonary atresia

  • Pulmonary stenosis (PS)

  • Pulmonary valve regurgitation

  • Ross procedure

  • Sano shunt procedure

  • Sinus of Valsalva aneurysms

  • Subaortic membrane

  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR)

  • Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)

  • Tricuspid atresia

  • Tricuspid regurgitation 

  • Truncus arteriosus

  • Vascular ring

  • Ventricular septal defect (small to large)

Usually a heart has two working ventricles (pumping chambers). A child may be born with only one ventricle that works well enough to pump blood.

Read Joelle's story

Learn more
  • Bradycardia

  • Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT)

  • Heart block (first degree, Mobitz type I, Mobitz type II and third degree)

  • Long QT syndrome (inherited arrhythmia)

  • Premature atrial contractions (PAC)

  • Premature ventricular contractions (PVC)

  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)

  • Tachycardia

  • Ventricular tachycardia (VT)

  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW)

  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)

  • Cardiomyopathy

  • Chest pain

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy

  • Dysautonomia

  • Eisenmenger's syndrome

  • Endocarditis

  • Fainting (syncope) and dizziness

  • Heart failure

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

  • Innocent heart murmur

  • Kawasaki disease

  • Marfan syndrome

  • Myocarditis

  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO)

  • Pericarditis

  • Peripheral pulmonic stenosis (PPS)

  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

  • Pulmonary hypertension

  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy

  • Rheumatic fever

Specialists in both our UW Health Kids Diabetes Clinic and our Heart Clinic will work with your child to help prevent heart disease.

Learn more

Treatments and diagnostic tools

If your child is diagnosed with a heart condition, the care team will discuss if any treatment is needed.  Your child may not need any treatment, or they may need medication, surgery or a catheterization procedure.

Learn more about the tests and what to expect

We use cardiac catheterization or angiograms to diagnose and treat congenital heart conditions. The doctor threads a thin, flexible tube through a vein in the groin up to the heart. Contrast dye and X-rays show areas of concern. If needed, tiny surgical tools can be sent along the tube to treat certain conditions during the procedure.

Learn more about different tests

We use chest X-rays to get images of the heart, lungs, airways, blood vessels and lymph nodes. A chest X-ray also shows the breastbone, collarbone and upper spine.

We use this painless test to create moving images of the heart. Sound waves build pictures that are more detailed than X-rays. Echocardiogram help us diagnose structural heart disease.

Learn more about different tests

We use this painless screening test to check for heart issues. Using electrodes, this test measures the rate of heartbeats, the size and position of the heart chambers and any damage to the heart muscle. An ECG also checks the effects of drugs or devices (such as a pacemaker) used to regulate the heart.

Learn more about different tests

Our electrophysiology and pacing program diagnoses and treats abnormal heart rhythms in children. We use a variety of tests such as treadmill testing and electrophysiology studies. Treatments include medication, ablation and pacemaker implantation.

Learn more about different tests

We use this ultrasound test to diagnosis heart defects in babies before birth. The test checks the heart’s function and structure.

We use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create detailed images of the heart to diagnose heart conditions or plan treatments.

A pacemaker helps to regulate the heart rate and can stimulate the heart beat, if needed. An ICD monitors heart function and shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm when needed.

Learn more about different tests

We use pulse oximetry to monitor oxygen levels in the blood.

We use this procedure to correct abnormal electrical circuits in the heart that cause arrhythmias. We thread a catheter through a vein in the groin up to the heart. We use X-rays to position the catheter at the site of the damaged electrical circuit. The catheter delivers energy (by heating or freezing) to destroy the abnormal circuit.

We perform an echocardiogram test before and after the heart exercise. This checks how the heart responds to exercise.


Convenient, top-ranked care

You don’t have to travel far to get the very best care for your child’s heart. UW Health Kids heart care specialists can see your child in Madison, Wis., Rockford, Ill., and at many clinics across Wisconsin.

Lighted exterior of American Family Children's Hospital
Featured location
American Family Children’s Hospital

Our team offers advanced heart surgery at American Family Children’s Hospital. American Family Children’s Hospital is ranked among the nation’s best hospitals for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery.

Meet our team

Experts in caring for children’s hearts

The UW Health Kids heart care team is specially trained to care for heart conditions affecting children.

Our team includes:

  • Cardiologists

  • Cardiothoracic surgeons

  • Case managers

  • Dietitians

  • Genetic counselors

  • Nurse practitioners

  • Physician assistants

  • Registered Nurses

Pediatric cardiovascular medicine
Pediatric cardiothoracic surgery

Kids heart transplant

Every child deserves the best chance to grow and live an active, healthy life. Our pediatric heart transplant team gives advanced, high-quality care to children who need a ventricular assist device or new heart.

Learn more


Helpful information for families

UW Health Kids experts help children (with the help of their parents) manage their heart conditions for the best possible heart-healthy lives.

Inspiring patients

Meet a few of our patients and their families through their inspiring stories.

Elliot's parents had a lot to manage when they knew they were expecting triplets. Then they found out Elliot had a condition called transposition VSD and would need major heart surgery shortly after birth. Our specialists helped them develop a plan of care for the triplets’ births, Elliot’s care until surgery and going home to have all the brothers together.
Michael was born with a rare heart condition that his doctors detected before he was born. When he was just 3 months old, he had heart surgery at American Family Children’s Hospital.
A baby being held by a physician in an exam room
Prompt heart surgery paves the way for young Levi

Born with an AV canal defect and narrowing aorta, Levi needed open heart surgery at just two weeks of age.

A baby in an infant seat
Boone battles back from serious heart defect

Boone’s parents sought out care from UW Health after seeing the heart program’s strong rankings by US News and World Report. After three surgeries and spending many holidays with their “family” at American Family Children’s Hospital, Boone is doing very well.

Newborn Daxton Noggle and parents Amber and Dustin
Daxton’s Heart was in the right place

Amber Noggle was 20 weeks pregnant when she went in for what she expected to be a routine ultrasound.