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.
About Our Center
About Our Center
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.
Ranked 5th in the Nation
When you choose Riley at IU Health, you're choosing nationally ranked care. Our pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program is ranked 5th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and the Midwest's best hospital for children's heart care. We are also among the top 15 of high-volume heart programs in the nation for effective outcomes.
Why Riley at IU Health
Why Riley at IU Health
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:
- Highly skilled cardiovascular surgeons who perform the latest and most innovative techniques to correct abnormalities of the heart
- A dedicated team of pediatric anesthesiologists to handle the delicate role of sedation during heart procedures for babies and children, and those who have highly-specialized anesthesia needs because of previous surgeries
- Dedicated cardiac intensive care specialists
- Board certified pediatric cardiologists
- Electrophysiology specialists (heart rhythm specialists)
- Heart transplant specialists
- Neonatology specialists
- Specialists in interventional heart procedures to repair the heart and/or relieve pain
- A team devoted to mechanical support for the heart
- Specialized nurses in our intensive care and step down units who are focused on caring for babies and children with heart conditions 100 percent of the time
- Dedicated pharmacists for heart transplant patients and those in our step down and intensive care units
Advanced Technology. Our services are delivered in a modern facility in the Simon Family Tower, equipped with:
- Two operating suites dedicated to cardiac surgery
- Two advanced catheterization labs
- A cardiovascular intensive care unit
- Hybrid operating rooms, where we can perform innovative procedures on the smallest patients who need catheterization and surgery at the same time
- A full suite of diagnostic technology, including fetal echocardiograms, cardiac MRIs and stress testing used to screen for heart problems
- A step down unit, where patients receive care when they are well enough to leave intensive care, but not well enough to go home
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:
- Post-surgical follow-up
- Routine follow-up to watch for changes that warrant concern or further treatment
- Tracking progress and readiness for procedures that must be done at the right stage in a child’s development
- Evaluation of new patients referred by their pediatricians or primary physicians for sudden symptoms, such as passing out, rapid heart rate, heart murmurs or chest pain
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.
Conditions & Services
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.
Related Programs & Departments
Related Programs & Departments
We provide multispecialty care for a number of conditions. Below are links to our related programs & departments.
Organization that supports pediatric heart patients and families honors the cardiac team for its partnership over the years.Continue reading
Rankings success is a point of pride for many who contribute to the Riley cardiology and heart surgery team’s national stature, including the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Team.Continue reading
Debra Murphy and Maegan Boehm are on the front lines with heart transplant patients, helping them live their best lives with the gift of a new heart.Continue reading
Allison Longest put her heart and soul into training for and running her first marathon to support children with congenital heart disease.Continue reading
He didn’t think he had the heart to take care of kids, but Nathan May’s heart leads the way in his work with young cardiac patients.Continue reading
Six-month-old James Guzman has never been outside the walls of a hospital. But after four major heart surgeries and another one to go, he’s impressing his medical team with his strength.Continue reading
Alisha Cook knew she wanted to become a nurse when her baby sister was a patient at Riley two decades ago.Continue reading
A home-monitoring program for the littlest Riley Hospital heart patients is saving lives.Continue reading
The goal is to collect data locally and nationally that could help in developing support programsContinue reading
For Health Professionals
Specialists at the Riley Heart Center work with primary care physicians to provide advanced care for children and adults with congenital heart disease.
Refer A Patient
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.