Cook Children's International Program

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Brilliant advancements in pediatric medicine and surgery mean that more and more children are not only surviving, but growing up to become adults who are leading full lives. That also means that the need for ongoing care for adults with congenital heart defects is growing as well.

Our surgeons take an individualized approach to treating complex conditions that other facilities either treat in multiple surgeries (instead of combining multiple procedures into one), or may shy away from treating all together.

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Surgical procedures

Did you know? Cook Children's cardiothoracic surgical team performs an average of 400 complex surgeries every year.


Aortic translocation

When a child is diagnosed with the rare combination of transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and a ventricular septal defect, an aortic translocation or "the Nikaidoh procedure" is necessary.

With the Nikaidoh Procedure, the aorta is switched, along with the aortic valve, and placed in the pulmonary position. This avoids leaks of a faulty pulmonary valve on the right side. Additionally, it is necessary to mobilize the coronary arteries, as is done in the Arterial Switch Operation. The pulmonary root is divided at the level of the pulmonary valve, which is excised. The outlet septum is excised, thereby removing the superior margin of the VSD. The aortic root is transposed posteriorly so that it lies primarily over the left ventricle. The VSD is closed with a patch, which is anchored to the aortic root at its superior margin. The pulmonary artery is connected to the right ventriculotomy with an anterior patch of pericardium.

The procedure was developed by Hisashi Nikaidoh, M.D. in 1984 as a more effective alternative to the Rastelli procedure.

From 2011 to 2014, Cook Children's performed 10 of these procedures with 0% mortality, compared to 62 procedures performed nationally, as reported by the STS with a mortality rate of 3.2%.

Unifocalization procedure

This procedure repairs a complex and potentially fatal congenital defect known as tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia and major aorto-pulmonary collaterals in just one procedure. This procedure recreates the child's pulmonary arteries, making it more likely that the heart can be repaired before the child's condition worsens which can cause the surgery to be more difficult, or even impossible.

Cook Children's Heart Center is one of a few pediatric heart programs in the country to perform the unifocalization procedure, specifically on neonates and infants.

What we treat

Our cardiothoracic surgery team's services include the repair of complex congenital heart defects, such as:

Our specialty care team

Hisashi Nikaidoh, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery

Education: University of Tokyo, Faculty of Medicine
Residency: US Naval Hospital, Yokosuka, Japan; Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY.; Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL.; Case Western Reserve University Hospitals
Board Certification: American Board of Surgery; American Board of Thoracic Surgery
Languages: English

Phillip Burch, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery

Education: University of South Alabama School of Medicine, Mobile, AL Residency: Louisville School of Medicine (General Surgery), Louisville, KY
Fellowship: University of Louisville School of Medicine; University of Florida College of Medicine; University of Utah School of Medicine; University of Utah School of Medicine Dept. of Pediatrics
Board Certification: American Board of Thoracic Surgery
Languages: English

Vincent K.H. Tam, MD
Medical Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery

Education: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA
Residency: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine - Cardiac Surgery
Board Certification: Surgery, Surgical Critical Care and Thoracic Surgery
Languages: English

Vinod Sebastian, MD
Cardiothoracic Surgery

Education: M.B.B.S. degree conferred, Mahatma Gandhi University Medical College, Kottayam, India
Residency: UMDNJ-NJMS/Monmouth Medical Center
Fellowship: 2007-2010 UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas; 2010-2011 Oak Foundation Research Fellowship in Fetal Surgical Intervention Stanford University; 2011-2012 Clinical Instructor Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Stanford University
Board Certification: American Board of Surgery; American Board of Thoracic Surgery
Languages: English

Referral forms

Need help referring a patient?
Please call the International Patient Services department at +1-682-885-4685, send faxes to +1-682-885-2557, or email