Pediatric Heart Surgery

Dr. Monique Bohun, pediatric cardiologist, examines a patient.
Doernbecher brings together experts from across OHSU to provide complete care for all types of children’s heart conditions.

OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital is the only place in Oregon where you’ll find three highly skilled surgeons who often repair children’s hearts in pairs.

We also offer:

  • A dedicated surgical team of children’s heart specialists available 24/7.
  • Surgeons who use advanced imaging tools and 3D models to plan procedures step by step.
  • A Level 1 center for children’s surgery, as designated by the American College of Surgeons.
  • The possibility of bloodless surgery.
  • A commitment to excellence and transparency that includes published surgical outcomes.

Download our guide

A photo of the front cover of Doernbecher Children's Hospital's Heart Surgery Guide, showing a young girl holding up a blue pillow shaped like a heart.

Our Heart Surgery Guide  gives you details on topics such as:

  • How to prepare
  • What to expect
  • When to call your doctor
  • Supporting your child

What makes our program different

Dr. Irving Shen (left) and Dr. Ashok Muralidaran
Our pediatric heart surgeons have the skill and experience to care for even the most complex conditions.

Doernbecher’s heart surgeons perform about 250 procedures a year on newborns, children, teenagers and adults. Our team has expertise in treating even the most complex heart conditions.

Generally, we operate on just one patient a day, so children get the team’s full attention.  

Our team commonly performs surgery to repair conditions that include:

  • Anomalous pulmonary venous return
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic valve problems
  • Atrial septal defect
  • Atrioventricular septal defect
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Coronary anomalies
  • Double outlet right ventricle
  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome 
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Truncus arteriosus
  • Ventricular septal defect

Careful planning: Our team meets weekly with specialists from Doernbecher and across OHSU to plan the most effective surgical care. If we find your baby’s heart defect before birth, we will work with your prenatal team to plan any surgery needed after delivery.

Your child’s team will include:

  • Children’s heart surgeons
  • Pediatric heart doctors (cardiologists)
  • Pediatric anesthesiologists
  • Physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified operating-room nurses and technicians
  • Heart-lung machine specialists (perfusionists)
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Dietitians
  • Imaging specialists (radiologists)
  • Speech-language/feeding pathologists
  • Physical and occupational therapists

Child-focused care: Everyone on our heart surgery team provides the highest level of care to patients and their families. Our experts are specially trained to understand the needs of babies through young adults. Our operating rooms, intensive care unit and imaging rooms are designed for your child’s comfort and safety.

What to expect

One-on-one meetings with surgeons: We set aside time each month for in-person consultations with our surgeons. They will talk with you about the best options for treating your child. You will also have the option of meeting with other members of our surgical team.

Streamlined scheduling: A nurse will help you schedule all your child’s pre-surgery tests and appointments. After your child’s surgery date is set, the nurse will go over what to expect.

Frequent communication:

  • The day before surgery, you will meet with our team to go over details and how to prepare.
  • During surgery, an operating room nurse will give you hourly updates.
  • After the operation, your surgeon will see you as soon as possible to talk about the results and next steps for recovery.
  • You will be able to contact your child’s surgeon and/or care team before and after surgery with any questions or concerns that come up.
Dr. Ashok Muralidaran with a model of a heart
Dr. Ashok Muralidaran (as well as Dr. Irving Shen and Dr. Yoshio Otaki) set time each month to meet one-on-one with families.

Advanced surgical care

3D imaging

3D printed model of a heart
In some cases, a 3D printed models give us a replica for precise surgical planning.

Our imaging team will thoroughly assess your child’s heart structures and blood flow before surgery. We use the latest high-resolution 3D technology to see your child’s heart in detail as it pumps.

Imaging we use to map a child’s heart before surgery may include:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • CT (computed tomography) scan
  • Heart catheterization

For some complex conditions, we use a 3D printer or digital modeling tools to make a replica of your child’s heart. The model helps us plan each step of surgery.

Children’s anesthesia

We have a team of anesthesiologists who specialize in caring for children with heart conditions. They work closely with the rest of the surgical team to plan and provide the right sedation or anesthesia for your child. The team is available 24/7.

Heart and lung support

Bypass: Most children need an external bypass machine to take over temporarily for their heart and lungs during heart surgery. At least two bypass specialists (perfusionists) will be in the operating room to monitor your child during surgery.

ECMO: After surgery, we can support your child’s heart and lungs if needed during recovery. Our ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) specialists include nurses and respiratory therapists with extra training and experience in children’s heart and lung support. We are a Center of Excellence in Life Support, the top honor given by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.

Reinforced Ross procedure

Doernbecher is among elite U.S. hospitals with the expertise to offer this groundbreaking technique for older children. Surgeons replace a stiff or leaky aortic valve with the child’s own pulmonary valve, then reinforce it with a sleeve. This procedure, first described at OHSU, can prevent long-term complications.

Bloodless surgery and direct donation

We use many strategies to prevent bleeding and to conserve your child’s blood during surgery. We also offer:

  • Bloodless surgery: Some surgeries can be done without any transfusion. OHSU’s Bloodless Surgery and Medicine Team includes our chief pediatric heart surgeon, Dr. Irving Shen. The team is dedicated to caring for patients who don’t want a transfusion for religious or other reasons.
  • Direct donation: We can help arrange for relatives or friends to give blood for your child’s surgery.

Intensive care

Our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit provides advanced care for your child after surgery.

Our ICU includes doctors certified in children’s critical care (intensivists) on duty 24/7. We also have dedicated cardiac intensive care nurses. Our team will give your child the highest quality care around the clock.

For families

Call 503-346-0640 to:

  • Request an appointment.
  • Seek a second opinion.
  • Ask questions.

Find resources and support.


Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
700 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239
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Refer a patient

‘Thriving and happy’

After two open-heart surgeries at Doernbecher, Jordan Young is doing the things he loves. “We saw the most amazing attention being paid to our son during the most traumatic time of our lives,” says his dad, Melvin Young.

Meet Dr. Yoshio Otaki

Dr. Yoshio Otaki wears his OHSU badge with a Yoshi clip.

Dr. Yoshio Otaki makes sure to wear Yoshi, the videogame character, on his badge. “It makes me happy when kids and families see me and say ‘Yoshi!’ many years after surgery.”