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The Heart Institute
Pediatric Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery
at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA)

The heart with callouts to the superior vena cava, aorta, and pulmonary vein.

USC Cardiothoracic Surgeons offer a complete spectrum of care for pediatric cardiac and thoracic disease. Treatment and consultation for children with heart and lung disease takes place at the Heart Institute at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).

Scope of Programs

USC Cardiothoracic Surgeons are specialists in the care of children. Areas of specialty include neonatal cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric surgery, thoracic surgery and heart and lung transplantation.

About the Heart Institute

The Heart Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles is known as a worldwide leader in the treatment of congenital or acquired heart disease and lung disorders in children. We provide virtually every advanced treatment for all heart disorders and defects affecting children.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is ranked among the top hospitals in the nation for heart care and heart surgery on the U.S. News & World Report Best Children's Hospitals List.

Range of Services
  • Diagnosis
  • Consultation
  • Treatment
  • Ongoing management
  • Support services for families

We are setting the standard for care of children with congenital and acquired cardiovascular disease. In 1939, the West Coast’s first pediatric heart surgery was performed at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and we have continued our history of leadership. Today, the Heart Institute is the largest pediatric cardiovascular center in the West and a global referral center, receiving patients from across the nation and the world.


The Heart Institute is co-directed by Dr. Vaughn Starnes, one of the world's foremost pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons, and chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and Dr. Michael Silka, a world-renowned cardiologist and expert in electrophysiology.


Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been a leader in heart and lung care since the 1930s. Among the milestones we have achieved, we are proud to have been the first medical center to:

  • perform pediatric heart surgery on the West Coast (1939)
  • pioneer pediatric open heart surgery in Southern California (1954)
  • perform a successful surgical treatment for transposition of arteries on the West Coast (1965)
  • accomplish a double lung lobe transplant from living parents to a child with cystic fibrosis in the world (1993)
Divisions & Programs

To provide a full complement of care for children, often infants, who are diagnosed with congenital heart defects, we bring together the divisions and programs listed below for our patients and their families.

Care Provided

Our Institute's physicians provide comprehensive care to approximately 8,000 children each year. More than 800 patients undergo cardiac surgery here annually, while another 5,000 patients receive non-invasive and invasive cardiology procedures. Treatment is provided for children from developmental stages from fetuses through adolescents. 

For more information, please contact:

Heart Institute at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA)


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