Congenital Heart Surgery

Patient Resources


If your child is having surgery to correct a congenital heart defect, you are understandably worried about what happens before, during and after surgery. We want to take the guesswork out of these days for your family. Our team is committed to assisting you, and your child’s primary medical team, by providing seamless communication and ensuring the best possible surgical outcomes.

Risks associated with congenital heart surgery

Our team at Texas Children's Congenital Heart Surgery Program does everything we can to ensure a positive outcome for your child’s surgery. Our surgical outcomes are among the best in the nation, but it’s important to discuss the possible complications before surgery.

Complications from congenital heart surgery vary widely according to the individual needs of the child and the surgical procedure that’s performed. Our surgeons will discuss the risks associated with your child’s surgery at the time of your consultation.

In general, risks can include bleeding, infection, need for repeat or additional surgery, damage to nerves in the chest area, brain damage and/or death.

At Texas Children’s Heart Center, the risk of serious complications, such as brain damage or death, are very low. Our surgeons have extensive experience and can provide specific data defining the surgical risk for most procedures, and our goal is to help you feel as informed and prepared as possible.

Length of hospitalization

The amount of time your child spends in the hospital after congenital heart surgery depends upon a variety of factors, including:

  • The type of congenital heart defect, surgical repair and postoperative course
  • His or her ability to maintain/gain weight and activity level
  • The family’s understanding and ability to provide for your child’s needs after surgery

Most children can expect a 3- to 10-day hospital stay. If you live more than a one-hour drive from Houston, you may need to stay in the Houston area for a few weeks, starting with the initial consultation period and ending after your first cardiology clinic visit after surgery, which usually is scheduled one week after discharge.

We’re here to help

If you need assistance or have questions at any time, call the Congenital Heart Surgery Clinic at 832-826-2030. We’re here to help make your family’s experience less stressful.