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If your child is experiencing heart failure, you need care from top experts who specialize in helping kids. At Atrium Health Levine Children’s, our team sees more kids with heart failure than any other hospital in the region. We can connect your child to the tailored care that’s right for them, whether it’s medication, surgery or help staying healthy after their heart condition has been fixed.

About heart failure

Heart failure is a condition where your child’s heart can’t pump enough blood for their body to function properly. Heart failure is usually the result of another condition such as:

  • Congenital heart disease, or heart problems that children are born with. These include ventricular septal defects (holes in the heart’s walls) and aortic valve stenosis (heart valves that are too narrow).
  • Exposure to some medicines, such as chemotherapy.
  • Genetic conditions, or hereditary illnesses caused by your child’s genes. These include cardiomyopathy (a disease that makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood) and tetralogy of Fallot (a rare combination of four heart defects).
  • Failing single ventricles, which happen when one of your child’s heart chambers isn’t strong enough to work properly.
  • Myocarditis, when the heart muscle is swollen. This makes it harder for your child’s heart to pump blood.


Our team creates a custom care plan, tailored to each child’s unique needs. We offer some of the most advanced treatments available in our region, including:

  • Medications. Some medicines (usually pills) can help the heart beat stronger or with a more regular rhythm.
  • Surgery. Each member of our pediatric heart surgery team has special training and years of experience operating on children’s hearts. These experts use the latest surgical techniques and perform everything from simple heart repairs to total heart transplants. We use advanced tools – like a 3D printer that creates an exact model of your child’s heart – to understand your child’s anatomy and plan the best way to conduct their surgery.
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). If children have sudden heart failure, ECMO is a machine that can support their heart and lungs while they recover. ECMO works like an artificial lung, putting oxygen in the blood so your child’s heart and lungs can rest. We’re one of the few hospitals in our region that offers ECMO for kids. Our team was honored with the Award for Excellence from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization in 2020, underscoring our ability to provide leading care.
  • Ventricular assist device (VAD). This is a small machine that doctors carefully place at the bottom of your child’s heart to help it pump blood. We offer the latest VADs, including one of the smallest heart pumps available, to help children’s hearts pump better.
  • Heart transplant. We’re one of the few hospitals in our region with specialized expertise in heart transplants for children. Our team takes extra steps to make this procedure as easy as possible on your child and family – for example, we do extensive testing to make sure the new heart will work well for your child.

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