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If your child has a heart defect, they deserve treatment from experts who have dedicated their lives to helping kids overcome heart problems. Atrium Health Levine Children’s is home to some of the world’s top pediatric heart specialists. We have the highest volume of congenital heart disease patients in the greater Charlotte area, underscoring our ability to help kids like yours. We use the latest treatments and techniques to give your child a brighter tomorrow.

About congenital heart defects

Congenital means “existing at birth.” Congenital heart defects happen when the heart or the tissues around it don’t develop normally. These defects are often detected on an ultrasound before a baby is born. Nearly one in 100 babies are born with congenital heart defects.

At Levine Children’s, our team has treated all types of congenital heart defects in all types of patients. We have specialized expertise in heart conditions including:

  • Aortic valve stenosis (AVS): A condition in which the valve that leads to the aorta (the large tube that carries blood from the heart to the body) does not open normally.
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD): A hole in the wall of the heart between the 2 upper chambers.
  • Coarctation of the aorta (CoA): A condition in which the aorta (the artery that carries blood to the heart) is narrow.
  • Ebstein’s anomaly: A condition in which the valve between the chambers on the right side of the heart doesn’t close properly.
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS): A condition in which one side of a child’s heart doesn’t develop properly in the womb.
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis: A condition in which the valve between the heart and lungs does not open properly.
  • Single ventricle defects: A condition in which one of the heart’s lower chambers is too small or underdeveloped.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot: A rare combination of 4 heart defects including ventricular septal defect (VSD), pulmonary valve stenosis, a misplaced aorta and a thickened right ventricular wall (right ventricular hypertrophy).
  • Transposition of the great arteries: A condition in which the 2 main arteries leaving the heart are reversed.
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD): A hole in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers.


Experts from different fields will evaluate your child’s condition and team up to develop a custom treatment plan. Common treatments for congenital heart disease include:


Doctors can fix some heart problems through a heart catheterization, using a thin, hollow tubes called catheters to measure blood pressure and take pictures of the heart. They insert this tube through a vein in the leg or neck, allowing them to diagnose and fix problems without open-heart surgery. This means children can avoid some of the risks of surgery, spend less time in the hospital and recover faster.

Our catheterization team uses the latest tools and technologies to make these procedures as easy as possible for your child. For example, we’ve taken steps to minimize radiation, so our catheterization lab exposes children to lower levels of radiation than almost any other pediatric facility. That reduces long-term risks, which is especially important for kids who undergo multiple procedures.


Sometimes surgery is the best way to mend a child’s heart. Families choose Levine Children’s for surgery because:

  • We can perform surgery as soon as your child is born. Some children with congenital heart defects may need surgery very early in life. Our team has performed advanced heart procedures on even the tiniest babies, with outstanding outcomes.
  • Our surgeons are highly experienced and perform more pediatric heart surgeries every year than many other pediatric heart centers.
  • We work closely with nurses, dietitians and other experts to keep your child healthy before, during and after surgery.
  • We use advanced tools like 3D printing to guide care. For example, we can use a CT or MRI and 3D printer to create an exact model of your child’s heart. This allows doctors to study every detail of an individual heart, so they can come up with a treatment plan that’s tailored to your child. We also use these models to help parents and families understand their child’s heart condition and educate the team caring for our patients.

Heart transplants

Levine Children’s is home to one of the Southeast’s only pediatric heart transplant programs and we’ve done over 100 transplants for kids in our region. This enables families across our region to get world-class care while staying as close to home as possible.

Our team has outstanding transplant outcomes and is finding ways to make this lifesaving procedure available for more kids. For example, donors and recipients usually have to have the same blood type for transplants to work. But our surgeons have been able to perform successful transplants in some patients even when the blood types don’t match.

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