Heart Center

US News and World Report Ranking Badge
Dr. Tara Swanson leads the Fetal Cardiac Program at Children's Mercy Kansas City.

Pediatric Cardiology

The Ward Family Heart Center at Children's Mercy Kansas City is one of the higher-volume pediatric heart centers in the nation. Patients benefit from the expertise of board-certified pediatric cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons, bio-engineering laboratories, hybrid-capable cardiac catheterization laboratories, and dedicated support during and after treatment. Our commitment to clinical research and innovation has helped us earn recognition as one of the top cardiology and heart surgery programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report

Heart Center Services and Highlights

We offer Heart Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device services to pediatric patients whose own hearts are failing due to cardiomyopathies, heart infections or complex congenital heart disease. Our Cardiac High Acuity Monitoring Program (CHAMP) uses a tablet app and secure, wireless technology to allow real-time home monitoring with immediate clinical response for fragile, single ventricle patients. We use 3D echocardiography and cardiac MRI to explore the intricate structures of the heart from multiple viewpoints, providing us with more accurate information for diagnosis and treatment. Our Fetal Cardiac Program brings potentially lifesaving care to families from the moment of fetal diagnosis, through delivery, and beyond. Our Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic provides early identification and treatment of neurodevelopmental issues that are often found in children with complex heart problems.

THRIVE Program

In addition to the expert clinical care provided by our Heart Center team, Children's Mercy also works to provide additional support to our patients and families through our THRIVE program. The program is designed to create a smooth transition back home by easing concerns about returning to school after hospitalization, supporting the emotional well-being of patients and families, and providing resources both inside and outside the hospital. We also assist families in planning for the future of patients, whether that is going off to college, transitioning to adult care or finding independent living.

Current Research Areas

Research by the Ward Family Heart Center at Children’s Mercy is truly translational, and spans the entire spectrum of medical research from bench to bedside. Multiple disciplines within the Ward Family Heart Center contribute to research in pharmacogenomics, imaging tissue engineering, and outcomes research. Our team is also collaborating with the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine to investigate genetic causes of congenital heart disease.

Pediatric Heart Surgery Outcomes

The Ward Family Heart Center team tirelessly pursues quality pediatric heart-surgery outcomes for our patients. Listed below are our results compared to the national standard.*

See more of our outcomes by procedure.

Surgical Mortality Rates

*Society of Thoracic Surgeons – EACTS Congenital Heart Surgery Mortality
**Children’s Mercy, 2016
***Society of Thoracic Surgeons

This information is based on data submitted by Children's Mercy Hospital to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Congenital Heart Surgery Database and compared with combined averages from 117 North American children's cardiac surgery programs.


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