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Heroes in Health

Revolutionary pediatric heart care is rebuilding hearts and hope

A well-organized, well-integrated, multidisciplinary team is the key to a patient’s long-term success. It’s also what sets Memorial Hermann apart.

Extraordinary skills and compassion

Jorge Salazar, MD, can’t change the fact that one percent of children are born with a congenital heart condition.But he can change the quality of life for the young patients he and his team see.

Revolutionary pediatric heart care is rebuilding hearts and hope

The pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon built an enviable reputation at Boston Children’s Hospital before coming to Houston in 2017 to serve as co-director of the Children’s Heart Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital with John Breinholt, M.D., chief of pediatric cardiology at McGovern Medical School.

“I was attracted by the incredible opportunity to make an impact here,” Dr. Salazar says. “Not just in Houston or in Texas, but around the country and the world.”

The future is now: rearranging anatomy

Dr. Salazar specializes in the most complex, advanced pediatric heart procedures. He has established a unique program, biventricular conversion, that has already turned Children’s Memorial Hermann into a national referral center for congenital heart disease.

Dr. Salazar’s team can rearrange the anatomy and connections inside a heart, so a child with only a single ventricle or single pumping heart chamber can have a two-ventricle or normal-heart repair. Most of the surgeries the team performs carry a success rate greater than 99 percent.

The surgery is the beginning of a lifetime of care, but it’s also a beginning these children otherwise might not have.

And the world outside of Houston has taken notice. In only a few short months, the program has attracted families from the Pacific Northwest, Chile and the United Arab Emirates.

The bigger picture

Dr. Salazar is quick to credit the cardiologists, critical care doctors, fellows, nurses, respiratory therapists, anesthesiologists and neonatologists who make up his team.