As the engine of the human body, the heart and cardiovascular system are central to life. When your child or loved one is born with a heart defect, an integrated team of experts—capable of handling every aspect of care—can make a significant difference for your family. The Riley Heart Center is a comprehensive resource for patients with congenital heart disease—the kind that occurs at birth or is discovered later in life.
As a nationally-recognized heart program with a multidisciplinary team of experienced pediatric specialists, the Riley Heart Center manages complex heart care for the most fragile patients with congenital and acquired heart disease.
The Riley Heart Center is one of the nation’s most respected sites for diagnosis and treatment of heart disease all through life—from unborn and premature babies to adults who survive congenital heart disease or discover it for the first time well past childhood.
Nearly one million adults in the United States today have survived congenital heart disease after successful treatment as children. Countless others have congenital defects that are not discovered until later in life, or they may acquire heart disease through viral and bacterial infections or autoimmune diseases. Pediatric heart specialists and cardiologists who specialize in congenital heart disease are often the best people to resolve or treat congenital and acquired heart problems in adults because we focus on this care every day.
By some estimates, over 40,000 children are born each year in the United States with congenital heart defects. Although there may be some similarities in defects from one child to the next, every child’s anatomy is unique. Over time, congenital heart defects in the population may evolve into complex conditions that have never been seen.
Those variables make skill, ingenuity and the pursuit of excellence key traits for physicians who diagnose and treat congenital heart defects and acquired heart disease. When your family comes to Riley at IU Health, you have access to specialists who find advanced solutions to congenital heart problems in real time, customizing care for each patient.
At the Riley Heart Center, your family gets unsurpassed care and advanced treatments through a collaborative team of congenital heart specialists who are engaged in innovation and research. We bring the best minds together to solve each patient’s heart problem.
Comprehensive, Specialized Care. The heart is a complex organ, and congenital heart disease can stem from numerous causes. The Riley Heart Center has assembled a team of diverse subspecialists who are national leaders in advanced heart care. Our multidisciplinary team includes:
Advanced Technology. Our services are delivered in a modern facility in the Simon Family Tower, equipped with:
Our people and resources are aligned to give every patient what they need—when they need it. At Riley at IU Health, we are dedicated to delivering a seamless experience for families affected by congenital heart disease.
Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. A special team of intensive care doctors and nurses monitor patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, reacting quickly to the subtlest changes during critical care and healing. This team works with your child’s surgeon and other specialists at Riley at IU Health to manage care.
Some babies are born with multiple conditions and may have many needs beyond their heart care. In response to these needs, our Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit includes specialized care for infants, provided by a select group of cardiac critical care physicians with a special interest in congenital heart disease. These experts monitor each baby’s complex needs, such as feeding and developmental issues.
Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery. We are one of the largest programs in the country for pediatric heart surgery, handling over 500 cases each year. We offer all forms of mechanical support, including ECMO technology (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), which oxygenates the blood after surgery, and ventricular assist devices that help the heart pump while patients wait for transplants. The Riley Heart Center is one of only 30+ sites in the United States that is certified to perform pediatric heart transplants. We are also one of the nation’s few sites trained to implant total artificial hearts for babies and children.
Pediatric Cardiology. This team of cardiologists has diagnostic physicians who identify heart problems in children and adults in outpatient locations across Indiana. Our interventional cardiologists specialize in heart repair, using coils and other implants to accomplish what was once possible only through surgical techniques. Riley at IU Health has been a leading U.S. site for the innovation of many devices that address congenital heart conditions such as atrial septal defect, which is a hole in the septum—the wall that separates the heart’s two upper chambers.
Electrophysiologists diagnose rhythm abnormalities and perform procedures such as ablation—a technique that uses a long, flexible tube (catheter) to correct arrhythmia. We also work closely with specialists in Maternal Fetal Medicine to diagnose complex heart defects in unborn babies through the comprehensive Fetal Center. For certain conditions, deliveries can be carefully planned to give infants immediate attention at birth in operating rooms that adjoin delivery rooms.
Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia. Riley at IU Health has a dedicated pediatric cardiac anesthesiology team that will ensure your child will be safely cared for throughout his or her procedure. All of our pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists have special training and experience in caring for children with heart disease. Pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists use advanced technology to monitor your child’s vital signs and to make sure the heart and lungs are protected during surgery and the brain is receiving enough blood to keep the nervous system functioning and healthy.
Statewide Cardiology Outpatient Locations. We serve patients with congenital heart disease at several convenient locations across the state. Families visit Riley at IU Health outpatient locations for numerous reasons, including:
Patients diagnosed with a heart defect at one of our clinics have access to knowledgeable heart specialists who can explain conditions and recommend the best treatment options. Our cardiologists are known for developing innovative solutions that have become standard care for heart disease and congenital heart defects.
Cardiology outpatient services are offered at two central Indiana locations: 1) on the main campus of Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in downtown Indianapolis or 2) Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health North Hospital. Families whose children have multiple health conditions often prefer the main campus because we can carefully coordinate their care with other sub-specialists on the same visit.
Patients outside the Indianapolis area may use one of our outreach locations in communities throughout Indiana. These offices provide easy access to the same advanced diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care for patients. No matter which location you choose, we bring you the same group of highly skilled cardiologists and healthcare providers—people who are dedicated to serving families like yours.
Riley at IU Health is one of just 11 institutions in 2017 to earn the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) three-star rating, the highest category of quality. With data from 118 programs and more than 450,000 surgeries, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons hosts the largest pediatric and congenital heart database in North America. Its star rating system, based on five operative mortality categories, is one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded overall measures of quality in healthcare in the U.S. and Canada.
As a nationally ranked leader in pediatric heart care, the Riley Heart Center strives to deliver the best care to all of our patients – this starts with providing our patients, families and providers the information they need when choosing care. We provide this information by publicly reporting our volumes and outcomes. A crucial component to offering outstanding programs and services is tracking the results of the care delivered through them.
Our annual Riley Heart Center Overview and Outcomes report includes important information about our program, including our volumes and outcomes. Sections of this report are taken and displayed in the charts and graphs below. We want you to play an active role in your child's care team. If you have questions regarding volumes and outcomes, feel free to ask your child’s care team or contact the Riley Heart Center.
Note: due to data collection times, the following data is reported from the 2017 calendar year.
The Riley Heart Center performs over 500 heart surgeries every year.
The Riley Heart Center experienced zero surgical site infections in 2016 and 2017 - highlighting our dedication to exceptional patient outcomes.
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) defines operative mortality as all deaths occurring during hospitalization where a heart surgery or procedure was performed 30 days after the procedure - including patients transferred to other acute care facilities. It also includes deaths occurring after discharge from the hospital if they are within 30 days of the surgery or procedure. This data is then reported over a four year period for the hospital.
Source: Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Congenital Heart Surgery Data Summary, Table 16 and public reporting | January 2014 – December 2017
Since 1989, Riley cardiovascular surgeons have completed more than 150 pediatric heart transplants. In addition, Riley is one of the few pediatric heart centers capable of implanting mechanical support devices, including total artificial heart.
Riley patients return home 5 days sooner than the STS national average across 10 procedures with accordingly better overall mortality.
Source: STS Benchmark Operations Table 18 for STS Data Harvest | January 2014 – December 2017
Source: Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium-CA BSI | 2018, Dec. 20
Our pediatric specialists provide patient- and family-centered care for most related conditions. The links below provide more specific information about some, but not all, of the conditions that we treat.
We offer a number of different Riley Heart Center services. Below are some, but not all, of the services that we provide. If you have a question about a specific service that is not listed here, please contact our department.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
Sort through 11 facilities offering Riley Heart Center care by entering your city or zip below.
We provide multispecialty care for a number of conditions. Below are links to our related programs & departments.
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Specialists at the Riley Heart Center work with primary care physicians to provide advanced care for children and adults with congenital heart disease.
Riley Heart Center specialists are active researchers who improve care for congenital and acquired heart disease through innovation. At any given time, they are engaged in numerous clinical trials and research to find better treatment options. A team of physicians, researchers and coordinators at the Riley Heart Center collect outcome data for research purposes by pediatric cardiovascular specialists working with multiple research partners, including the Indiana University School of Medicine. They also support continuous process improvement at the Riley Heart Center. Bench researchers at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research collaborate with our physicians on studies related to heart failure in children.
The Riley Heart Center offers formal fellowship training for physicians who want to advance their experience in pediatric cardiology, critical care and cardiac surgery. Visit the Indiana University School of Medicine website for details about our fellowship program.