Cardiac Center Research
International Leaders in Pediatric Cardiac Research
The smallest hearts often pose the largest challenges. The Cardiac Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is constantly searching for answers to the mysteries of the human heart. Why are some children born with heart defects? What can be done to repair these damaged hearts? And how can we improve long-term outcomes and quality of life for all individuals with heart disease?
CHOP's Cardiac Center is one of the largest and most established pediatric heart programs in the world. A core part of our mission is to improve children's lives through research. With the top clinical experts in the field, our research aims to improve the health, wellbeing and lives of all children with heart disease.
The Cardiac Center is internationally recognized for its excellence in:
- Single ventricle heart disease
- Lymphatic abnormalities
- Advanced interventional cardiology/surgery and valve disease
- Heart failure and mechanical circulatory support
- Fetal diagnosis and treatment
- Medical education
CHOP is also leading the way with promising new research – some of which could be game-changers in the field of pediatric cardiology, including:
- Stem cell and tissue engineering
- Precision medicine and gene therapy
- Developmental biology
- Device advances
Research studies and clinical trials
The Cardiac Center actively enrolls patients and healthy control subjects for a wide variety of research studies and clinical trials. The purpose is to better understand what causes heart defects, create better diagnostic tools and cutting-edge therapies, and to improve long-term outcomes for patients.
Examples of ongoing trials at CHOP include:
- A new valve replacement device for children with a leaky pulmonary valve
- A quality improvement collaborative for patients with single ventricle heart defects
- The effectiveness of therapies like stem cells, cord blood and growth hormones
- Disease-specific research on hypoplastic left heart syndrome, pulmonary hypertension and lupus
If you are interested in learning about new opportunities to participate in research, you can also sign up for CHOP's research participant registry.
To learn more about more than 297,000 clinical trials around the world, visit ClinicalTrials.gov. Before participating in a study, talk to your health care provider.
Publications and research excellence
During the past three years, staff from the Cardiac Center have published 595 research articles, and received nearly 4,000 research citations.
Thirty-eight of the Cardiac Center-authored articles were published in Circulation and Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the two highest impact journals in cardiology and cardiovascular medicine.
Physicians, researchers and staff members in CHOP's Cardiac Center are constantly working to improve the lives of children with heart disease. A few recent projects are listed below
- Better Valves, Better Lives. Research led by Robert J. Levy, MD, to find better replacement heart valves for children with CHD.
- Brain Injury in Newborns with Congenital Heart Disease. Research led by Daniel J. Licht, MD, to help physicians build strategies to treat or prevent brain injury associated with CHD.
- Determining Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death in Children and Youth Adults with Heart Disease. Research led by Julie Brothers, MD, using exercise stress testing to determine risk and adjust treatment.
- Effects of Stress Caused by Prenatal Diagnoses. Research led by Jack Rychik, MD, about the effects of maternal stress on fetal development and a child's long-term health.
- Fetal Neuroprotection and Neuroplasticity Program Research led by Dr. J. William Gaynor and a multidisciplinary team about innovative prenatal therapies to protect fetal brain development and prevent brain injury as early as possible before birth.
- Home Monitoring After Congenital Heart Disease Surgery. Barbara Medoff-Cooper, PhD, CRNP, RN, FAAN, and REACH are researching the effectiveness of a high-intensity, technology-based home monitoring program in infants with complex CHD.
- Improving Blood Flow After Surgery to Treat HLHS. CHOP researchers study the use of a medication called Sildenafil as a complement to surgery in improving exercise ability and overall quality of life in patients with single-ventricle heart disease.
- Myocardial Blood Flow in Children with AAOCA. Julie Brothers, MD, and colleagues are conducting a study using MRI to better understand the cause of ischemia in patients with anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery.
- Patient Registry Studies AAOCA in Children and Young Adults. A multi-center study to improve understanding of risk of sudden death in patients with anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery.
- Preventing and Treating Thrombosis in Cardiac Disease. A two-year research project to develop strategies to reduce dangerous blood clots and complications in cardia patients.
- The Psychological Impact of Prenatal Diagnosis of Congenital Heart Disease. Doctors study the impact of CHD on families in an effort to provide better counseling and support.
- The Underlying Cause of Heart Defects. Elizabeth Goldmuntz, MD, is leading research to study the underlying causes of heart defects in children.