Cardiac Care (Heart Center)

When a child is born with a congenital heart defect, it can create complex emotions in parents: fear, uncertainty, resolve, determination. One thing all parents have in common: They want their children to have the best cardiac care possible.

From minor murmurs to major defects, disorders, and diseases, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center offers comprehensive cardiac care programs for both children and adults with congenital heart issues.

The Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Heart Center provides care for patients of all ages, from before birth through young adulthood.

Make An Appointment

Make An Appointment

Cardiology: Phone 402-955-4339 | Fax 402-955-4356
Cardiac Diagnostic Services (ECG, ECHO, HOLTER and EVENT RECORDER REPORTS): Phone 402-955-4328 | Fax 402-955-4357
Cardiothoracic Surgery: Phone 402-955-4360 | Fax 402-955-4364
Adult Congenital Heart Disease: Phone 844-692-9043 | Fax 402-955-4356

Our programs and services include:

  • 3D Visualization Lab

    Our 3D Visualization Lab uses the latest in cutting-edge technology to provide the best care for our patients. By combining advanced imaging practices with 3D modeling, our physicians are better prepared for the most difficult cases by creating a virtual model that can be printed in 3D.

    These 3D models allow physicians, patients, and patients’ families to fully understand what will be done during a procedure, as well as increased staff knowledge of each case. This pre-surgical planning method leads to better outcomes for our patients.

  • Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program

    In collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Children’s is home to the region’s only Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) program. Our ACHD program is accredited by the Adult Congenital Heart Association — one of only a handful of programs in the country to achieve this accreditation.

    Our ACHD-trained physicians and specialists provide advanced imaging techniques, interventional catheterization and surgical procedures, transition support from pediatrics to adult care, and high-risk pregnancy care for mothers with congenital heart disease.

  • Cardiology

    Our pediatric cardiologists and advanced practice providers (APPs) provide high-quality care to patients in multiple areas, including cardiac imaging, electrophysiology, heart failure, and interventional cardiology.

    We care for patients not only at the main hospital campus in Omaha, but also throughout the region. Our cardiac outreach clinics allow patients who are unable to travel to Omaha to receive the same standard of cardiac care near their homes.

    Our cardiac outreach clinics are located throughout Nebraska and the region, including a permanent cardiology presence in Sioux City, IA that provides services to patients in northwest Iowa, southwest Minnesota, and southeast South Dakota.

  • Cardiothoracic Surgery

    Our cardiothoracic surgery program treats all congenital heart disease conditions. We take an individualized approach to treatment, tailoring care to each patient’s unique needs.

    Our team of three board certified pediatric and congenital heart surgeons is supported by dedicated pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists, pediatric cardiac perfusionists, and experienced cardiac in- and outpatient nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

    The patient care team extends beyond surgery to include cardiology, nursing, and intensive care. This collaborative approach ensures exceptional care for every child.

  • Electrophysiology

    Electrophysiology is all about studying the electrical activity in the heart. Our electrophysiology program performs catheter ablations (using a catheter to correct abnormal electrical signals in the heart) on infants, children, and adolescents who have arrhythmias or congenital heart defects. We use an advanced 3D system that requires minimal, or even no, fluoroscopy or radiation exposure.
  • Fetal Heart Clinic

    Children’s offers advanced cardiac imaging and consultations with parents-to-be in order to provide an accurate and early congenital heart defect (CHD) diagnosis. This allows expectant parents to prepare for their child’s treatment before birth.

    We are ready and equipped with sophisticated imaging, compassionate consultative services, and an experienced team to diagnose and treat the most challenging congenital heart diseases.

  • Heart Failure and Transplant Program

    When cardiac transplantation is the best option, our heart team is here to guide your child — and your entire family — through the process, from the initial evaluation all the way to after-transplant care.

    Our transplant program features:

    • A highly-skilled team of pediatric cardiologists, congenital heart surgeons, physician assistants, and nurses
    • Advanced cardiac diagnostics with pediatric-trained technicians
    • 24/7 support from a full staff of pediatric subspecialists including neonatologists, critical care intensivists, anesthesiologists, pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, and radiologists
    • Personalized, one-on-one care throughout every stage of the transplant process

    Our careful approach to matching available organs to our patients’ needs— and our central geographical location — allow our heart transplant team to receive donor organs from both the east and west coasts. This allows patients and families from around the region to receive transplant care much closer to home.

  • Interventional Cardiology

    Our Interventional Cardiology team provides interventional cardiac catheterization for infants, children, and adults. Every year, we perform more than 350 interventional and diagnostic cardiac catheterization procedures. Our lab has full operating room capabilities. This means that both surgical and catheter-based techniques can be combined seamlessly, allowing us to perform procedures that would be impossible to complete using either approach alone. These hybrid procedures are less risky, take less time to complete, and have better patient outcomes.
Fast Facts

Children’s has been ranked among America’s top children’s hospitals for cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery by U.S. News and World Report every year since 2011.

What Sets Children’s Apart?

  • Children’s is a certified Aetna Institute of Excellence for pediatric congenital heart surgery. This certification is given to hospitals with premier programs that meet enhanced quality review criteria.
  • Our Heart Failure and Transplant program wait-list times are significantly shorter than the national averages.
  • Our ACHD program is one of only 11 programs accredited by the Adult Congenital Heart Association.
  • Our cardiology outreach clinics give patients outside of Omaha easier access to care. Our outreach clinics are located throughout Nebraska and the region, including Sioux City, IA.

Conditions We Treat

At Children’s, we are prepared to diagnose, monitor, treat, and provide follow-up care for a wide range of pediatric cardiology-related issues, such as:

  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

    Atrial Septal Defect is a type of congenital heart defect where there is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the two upper chambers of the heart (atria). While some children who are born with ASD do not have symptoms, others may experience:
    • Frequent infections in the lungs or respiratory system
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Heart murmurs
    • Swelling in their legs, feet, or stomach
    • Stroke

    Sometimes the hole closes on its own. Other times it may need to be closed surgically or through cardiac catheterization.

  • Coarctation of the Aorta

    Coarctation of the Aorta is a congenital heart defect where the aorta (major artery that brings oxygen-rich blood to the body) is narrower than it should be. This can cause:
    • Pale skin
    • Irritability
    • Excessive sweating
    • Trouble breathing

    Treatment is aimed at widening the aorta, either through surgery or cardiac catheterization.

  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)

    Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome occurs when all or part of the left side of the heart does not develop properly. This can lead to:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Weakened pulse
    • Pounding heartbeat
    • Pale or bluish skin tone (cyanosis)

    In addition to medication and nutrition supplementation, babies with HLHS will typically undergo corrective surgeries, often done in three stages.

  • Pulmonary Atresia

    Children with pulmonary atresia are born without a pulmonary valve. This valve is needed to control blood flow between the lower right chamber (ventricle) of the heart and the pulmonary artery (artery that carries blood to the lungs). Without this valve, blood cannot flow directly from the heart to the lungs. This can cause:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Pale or bluish skin tone (cyanosis)
    • Difficulty feeding
    • Extreme fatigue or sleepiness

    Treatment is usually aimed at replacing or repairing the valve, either through surgery or cardiac catheterization.

  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

    Tetralogy of Fallot is a group of four heart defects:
    1. Ventricular Septal Defect: hole in the wall (septum) between the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart
    2. Pulmonary Stenosis: narrowed pulmonary valve and main pulmonary artery
    3. Enlarged aortic valve that opens up to both lower chambers (ventricles) rather than just the left ventricle
    4. Ventricular hypertrophy: thicker-than-usual muscle wall in the lower right chamber (ventricle) of the heart

    This can cause:

    • Pale or bluish skin tone (cyanosis)
    • Dizziness
    • Fainting
    • Seizures
    • Growth and developmental delays

    Treatment involves surgery to correct the different defects.

  • Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR)

    Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return is a congenital heart defect where the veins that are responsible for returning blood from the lungs to the heart (pulmonary veins) do not connect to the upper left chamber (atrium) like they should. There are several different types of TAPVR, depending on where the pulmonary veins connect in place of the left atrium.

    This can cause:

    • Trouble breathing
    • Pounding heartbeat
    • Weakened pulse
    • Pale or bluish skin tone (cyanosis)
    • Difficulty feeding
    • Extreme fatigue or sleepiness

    TAPVR requires surgery to correct the defect.

  • Tricuspid Atresia

    Tricuspid Atresia is a congenital heart condition where the valve that controls the flow of blood from the heart’s right upper chamber (atrium) to the left upper chamber does not form. This means that blood is unable to properly flow through the heart and out to the body. This can cause:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Pale or bluish skin tone (cyanosis)
    • Difficulty feeding
    • Extreme fatigue or sleepiness

    In addition to medication and nutrition supplementation, babies with Tricuspid Atresia typically undergo corrective surgery.

  • Transposition of the Great Arteries

    Transposition of the Great Arteries (sometimes also called Dextro-Transposition of the Great Arteries, or d-TGA) is a congenital heart defect where the arteries that carry blood away from the heart (the main pulmonary artery and the aorta) are switched with one another.
    • Trouble breathing
    • Pounding heartbeat
    • Weakened pulse
    • Pale or bluish skin tone (cyanosis)
    • Difficulty feeding

    Surgery is necessary to treat this heart defect.

  • Truncus Arteriosus

    Truncus Arteriosus is a congenital heart defect where there is a single blood vessel coming out of the heart rather than the normal two vessels (the main pulmonary artery and the aorta). This can cause:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Pounding heartbeat
    • Weakened pulse
    • Pale or bluish skin tone (cyanosis)
    • Difficulty feeding
    • Extreme fatigue or sleepiness

    Surgery is necessary to treat this heart defect.

  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

    Ventricular Septal Defect is a type of congenital heart defect where there is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the two lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). There are several types of Ventricular Septal Defects, depending on where the hole is located. Ventricular Septal Defects can cause:
    • Shortness of breath
    • Heavy and/or fast breathing
    • Excessive sweating
    • Difficulty feeding
    • Trouble gaining weight

    Sometimes the hole closes on its own. Other times it may need to be closed surgically or through cardiac catheterization.

  • Other Conditions We Treat

    • Anomalous Aortic Origin Of A Coronary Artery (AAOCA)
    • Anomalous Left Coronary Artery From The Pulmonary Artery (ALCAPA)
    • Aortic Valve Stenosis
    • Arrhythmias
    • Atrioventricular Canal Defect
    • Bacterial Endocarditis
    • Cardiac Tumor
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Congestive Heart Failure
    • Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV)
    • Ebstein’s Anomaly
    • Heart Murmurs
    • Heterotaxy Syndrome (Isomerism)
    • Hypertension
    • Interruption Of The Aortic Arch
    • Kawasaki Disease
    • Long QT Syndrome
    • Loeys-Dietz Syndrome
    • Marfan Syndrome
    • Mitral Valve defects
    • Myocarditis
    • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
    • Pulmonary Hypertension
    • Pulmonary Regurgitation
    • Pulmonary Vein Stenosis
    • Single Ventricle Heart Defects
    • Vascular Ring

Our Specialists

Having a heart condition can impact more than just a child’s physical health. At Children’s, we provide support services for our patients and their families across specialties. In addition to our cardiac care providers, other members of your child’s care team might include:

  • Child Life Specialists
  • Nursing Case Management
  • Social Workers
  • Dietitians
  • Behavioral Health Specialists
Victoria M. Alai PA-C

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Jonathan W. Cramer, M.D.

Cardiology
Cardiology - Adult Congenital

Kim F. Duncan, M.D.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

James M. Hammel, M.D.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Ali N. Ibrahimiye, M.D.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Cassandra L. Kilpatrick APRN-NP

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Eyad Najdawi, M.D.

Cardiology

Shane F. Tsai, M.D.

Cardiology
Cardiology - Adult Congenital

Anji T. Yetman, M.D.

Cardiology
Cardiology - Adult Congenital

Holly A. Baynes, APRN

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Kristy J. Cook, APRN

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Carman R. DeMare, APRN, DNP

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Peter W. Hunt, PA-C

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Amy J. Kenkel, APRN

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Elizabeth McKelvey, APRN-NP

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Rebecca J. Siecke, PA-C

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Valoree M. Stuhr, APRN

Cardiothoracic Surgery

What To Do Next

For Patients

Make An Appointment

Patients do not need a referral to see one of our cardiologists. However, we recommend speaking with your child’s pediatrician first and making sure that you have all of your child’s medical records sent to the cardiologist before their first appointment. To make an appointment, call 402-955-4339.

For Referring Providers

The Physicians’ Priority Line is your 24-hour link to pediatric specialists at Children’s for referrals, emergency and urgent consults, physician-to-physician consults, admissions, and transport services. Call 855-850-KIDS (5437).

Learn more about referring patients.

Back To Top