Programs and research

Heart care programs

At UW Health and American Family Children’s Hospital, we offer specialized clinics and programs for children and adolescents who need heart care. We also have a clinic for adults who were born with a heart condition (adult congenital cardiology).

Our doctors and surgeons treat children who are born with heart conditions — when the heart is the size of a walnut — and those who develop heart conditions as they get older.  

You can be confident in the care your child receives at UW Health and American Family Children’s Hospital. National organizations rank our program among the best in the country.

Our pediatric cardiology program received the highest ranking from the Society for Thoracic Surgeons. This ranking means our patients do better compared to others across the nation. We are one of only ten programs in the nation with their elite 3-star designation.

Our programs and clinics include:

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 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.

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

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

  • Loeys-Dietz syndrome

  • Marfan syndrome

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

We care for children with risk factors for early heart disease.

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

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

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:

  • Pediatric Brain Care Clinic 

  • Pediatric Metabolic Syndrome Clinic 

  • Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders Clinic 

  • Pediatric 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

At UW Health and American Family Children’s Hospital, we treat the full range of congenital, acquired and congenital heart conditions.

  • High LDL (low-density lipoprotein)

  • Familial hypercholesterolemia (inherited high cholesterol in children)

  • High triglycerides

  • Low HDL (high-density lipoprotein)

  • Elevated lipoprotein(a)

  • 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)

  • 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

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.

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.

Locations

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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.

Convenient, top-ranked care

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

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  • American Family Children's Hospital - Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery
    • 1675 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-6420
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  • American Family Children's Hospital - Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine
    • 1675 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-6420
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  • Swedish American Women and Children's Hospital - Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine
    • 1350 Charles Street / Rockford, IL
    • (779) 696-0600
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  • Aspirus Heart and Vascular Institute - Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine Clinic
    • 333 Pine Ridge Blvd / Wausau, WI
    • (715) 847-2488
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  • Aspirus Riverview Hospital - Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine
    • 410 Dewey Street / Wisconsin Rapids, WI
    • (715) 847-2488
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  • Beloit Memorial Hospital - Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine
    • 1969 W. Hart Rd. / Beloit, WI
    • (608) 364-5127
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  • Aurora Children's Health (Green Bay) - Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine
    • 1160 Kepler Drive / Green Bay, WI
    • (920) 288-5500
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  • Aurora Children's Health (Oshkosh) - Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine
    • 855 N. Westhaven Drive / Oshkosh, WI
    • (920) 303-8700
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  • Mercyhealth Physician Clinic – Riverside
    • 8201 E. Riverside Blvd. / Rockford, IL
    • (815) 971-7667
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  • Southwest Health Center - Pediatric Cardiovascular Medicine
    • 1400 East Side Road / Platteville, WI
    • (608) 342-5060
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  • Aspirus Heart and Vascular Institute - Pediatric Preventive Cardiology Clinic
    • 333 Pine Ridge Blvd / Wausau, WI
    • (715) 847-2488
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  • Aurora Children's Health (Green Bay) - Pediatric Preventive Cardiology
    • 1160 Kepler Drive / Green Bay, WI
    • (920) 288-5500
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  • Aurora Children's Health (Oshkosh) - Pediatric Preventive Cardiology
    • 855 N. Westhaven Drive / Oshkosh, WI
    • (920) 303-8700
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Meet our team

Experts in caring for children’s hearts

The pediatric cardiology team at UW Health and American Family Children’s Hospital 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

Patient stories

Inspiring patients

At American Family Children’s Hospital, we help children (with the help of their parents) manage their heart conditions for the best possible heart-healthy lives.

Michael's story

Overcoming a rare heart condition

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.

Watch Michael’s story
Baby in infant seat
Boone's story

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.

Elliot's story

Elliot conquers transposition VSD

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. He would need major heart surgery shortly after birth. Our pediatric heart 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.

Watch Elliot's story