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Programs and research
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.
We care for people affected with inherited or genetic conditions such as:
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.
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.
(you will not meet with everyone, depending on the care you need)
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.
MRI - cardiac and liver
FibroScan (liver test)
PFTs (pulmonary function tests)
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.
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
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)
Low HDL (high-density lipoprotein)
Anomalous coronary artery
Atrial septal defect (ASD)
Atrioventricular canal defect (AV canal)
Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV)
Coarctation of the aorta
Coronary artery fistula
Double inlet left ventricle (DORV)
Hypoplastic heart syndrome (left and right)
Interrupted aortic arch
Left ventricular outflow tract obstruction
Mitral valve prolapse
Partial anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR)
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
Pulmonary stenosis (PS)
Pulmonary valve regurgitation
Sano shunt procedure
Sinus of Valsalva aneurysms
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR)
Transposition of the great arteries (TGA)
Ventricular septal defect (small to large)
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)
Ventricular tachycardia (VT)
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW)
Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD)
Fainting (syncope) and dizziness
Innocent heart murmur
Patent foramen ovale (PFO)
Peripheral pulmonic stenosis (PPS)
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
Specialists in both our UW Health Kids Diabetes Clinic and our Heart Clinic will work with your child to help prevent heart disease.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We use this test to check heart function and blood pressure while your child walks on a treadmill.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Meet a few of our patients and their families through their inspiring stories.
Born with an AV canal defect and narrowing aorta, Levi needed open heart surgery at just two weeks of age.
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.
Amber Noggle was 20 weeks pregnant when she went in for what she expected to be a routine ultrasound.