When your child faces a heart issue, you want the best care possible.

Division Overview

A collaboration between Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center brings together the expertise of Kentucky’s top hospital and one of the country’s best children’s hospitals to create one of the top pediatric heart programs in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The innovative Kentucky Children’s Hospital Joint Heart Program follows the one-program, two-sites model, which means our team of pediatric cardiology experts and our pediatric heart surgery team at Kentucky Children’s Hospital benefits from the support of other pediatric heart specialists at Cincinnati Children’s to provide a full spectrum of children’s cardiology services. This collaboration provides Kentucky families with the reassurance of knowing they have access to exceptional heart treatment for children close to home.

image badge that says "Best Children's Hospitals" US News and World Reports. Cardiology and Heart Surgery 2020-21

Conditions We Treat

While we often think of heart health concerns such as heart disease affecting only adults, kids are also impacted. Children are affected by many heart-related issues, including:

  • Anomalous pulmonary venous drainage
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Arrhythmias
  • Atrial septal defect
  • Atrioventricular canal defect
  • Bicuspid aortic valve
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Chest/upper abdominal pain or pressure
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Congenital and acquired heart block
  • Ebstein anomaly
  • Endocarditis
  • Hemangioma
  • Hypertension
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Patent foramen ovale
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Single ventricle
  • Syncope
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Truncus arteriosus
  • Vascular malformations
  • Vascular rings
  • Ventricular septal defect

Kentucky Children’s Hospital offers a full spectrum of diagnostic and treatment options, along with supportive care for these conditions, including:

Advanced Cardiac Imaging

Advanced cardiac imaging, including both cardiac MRI and CT. These diagnostic tests allow healthcare providers to capture highly detailed images of the heart and its blood vessels. Using these diagnostic images, doctors can then suggest an appropriate treatment option, gauge the effectiveness of current treatment or determine whether a condition is worsening.

Cardiac Anesthesia

Cardiac anesthesia, which is a special field of anesthesia used when a child needs to undergo a procedure.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgery, which involves operative management of conditions affecting the heart and lungs. This program is led by Carl Backer, MD, chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, who has years of expertise and experience as a cardiac surgeon.


Echocardiography, which offers diagnostic technology and expertise to help interpret complex congenital heart abnormalities in children, including those in utero. This includes all forms of noninvasive and invasive heart ultrasound, including fetal echocardiography and ultrasound for adult congenital heart disease.


Electrophysiology, which offers arrhythmia treatment and management for children using advanced medications, catheter-based procedures and implantable cardiac devices to provide the highest level of patient-centered care. These services are available through Pediatric Heart Rhythm Services.

Fetal Cardiology

Fetal cardiology, which provides diagnosis and treatment for fetal cardiac care issues. Care is provided by a collaborative team including fetal cardiologists, fetal sonographers, a patient navigator and a licensed clinical social worker. This team works alongside obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine specialists to provide complete care for mother and child. Our fetal team also participates in national multicenter research studies to bring leading-edge care to Kentucky patients and their families.

Interventional Cardiology

Interventional Cardiology, which treats children and adults with heart defects using interventional or therapeutic cardiac catheterization procedures rather than heart surgery when possible. Cardiac catheterization procedures can also be used in a diagnostic capacity to follow complex heart conditions and accurately record progression in the disease.

Specialized Heart Treatment for Children

Some heart health conditions are chronic in nature. As a result, we often work closely with programs at the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, such as Adult Heart Rhythm Program and Adult Congenital Heart Program. This allows patients to seamlessly transition their care when they enter adulthood.

We also offer specialized services for the treatment of congenital heart disease, which can be diagnosed before birth, immediately after birth, in childhood or even in adulthood.