The Edmond J. Safra International Congenital Heart Center
The Edmond J. Safra International Congenital Heart Center at Sheba Medical Center is a one-of-a-kind facility, featuring the latest innovative technologies and a highly qualified, compassionate staff of medical experts. Our center includes the Department of Pediatric & Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery, which is a referral center for children from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Eastern Europe. We are guided by the mission to treat all patients effectively – with maximum comfort and minimal pain. Yearly, we perform surgery on about 400 patients, and approximately 300 non-surgical procedures are carried out in the catheterization laboratory.
Our department is all-inclusive, with a range of advanced diagnostic equipment for congenital heart defects (before and after birth) located on one floor. All treatments are also provided conveniently within one ward; we have a catheterization laboratory, two operating rooms, and an ICU with eight private rooms, as well as postoperative recovery rooms.
The Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital
The Edmond J. Safra International Congenital Heart Center and the Department of Pediatric & Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery are located within the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, a comprehensive hospital division dedicated entirely to children and their families. In this part of Sheba Medical Center, we take special care to design the atmosphere and all medical services with kids in mind.
The hospital’s other departments include:
- Pediatric Rehabilitation Department
- Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Clinic
- Department of Pediatric Surgery
- Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department
- The Claudio Cohen Department of Pediatric Intensive Care
- The Raphael Cohen Pediatric Emergency Department
- The Pediatric Psychosomatic Department
- The Albert Katz Department of Neonatology
- The Weinberg Child Development Center
- The Pediatric Pulmonary Unit
- The Pediatric Metabolic Disease
- The Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit
- The Pediatric Nephrology Unit
- The Pediatric Rheumatology Department
- The Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit
- The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit
- The Institute for Rare Diseases
- The Pediatric Neurology Unit
- The Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute
- The Institute of Pediatric Cardiology
- The Pediatric Community Medicine Unit
What diseases do we treat?
Our center provides frontline therapies for the following conditions:
- Transposition of the great arteries – a rare, but serious congenital heart defect in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed, creating an oxygen shortage in blood flowing out of the heart to the body
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) – this critical birth defect affects normal blood flow through the heart; the left side of the heart cannot pump blood to the body properly, so organs do not receive the oxygen they need to function
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with pulmonary atresia – this congenital heart defect involves five abnormalities, including a ventricular septal defect, overriding aorta, thickened right ventricle, complete pulmonary obstruction, and abnormal pulmonary arteries (MAPCAs)
- Single ventricle defects – a rare heart defect in which one lower ventricle (chamber) does not develop, leaving the heart with only one pumping ventricle and the body does not receive enough oxygenated blood
- Valve disease (tricuspid, aortic, and mitral) – there are four valves that keep blood flowing regularly in the right direction through the heart; valve disease is generally caused by a congenital heart defect and requires valve repair or replacement
- Congenital cardiac malformations – complex cardiac anomalies that require intracardiac reconstruction
- Complex forms of transposition of the great arteries – the remodeling of left ventricular outflow tract can be performed by the Nikaidoh procedure; a diseased aortic valve may be corrected by the Ross procedure (pulmonary autograft)
- ASD, VSD and AV canal defects – these congenital heart conditions cause a hole in the center of the heart between the ventricles and problems with the heart valves
In the Electrophysiology Clinic of the Edmond J. Safra International Congenital Heart Center, we provide treatment for primary arrhythmias in children, as well as postoperative rehabilitation. We offer advanced care for the following conditions in children (and older patients):
- Cardiac arrhythmias and intracardiac conduction disorders
- Children suffering from loss of consciousness events
- Genetic and familial diseases that cause pediatric arrhythmias; we provide diagnosis and treatment
- Fetal arrhythmias during pregnancy
- Congenital heart defects that require pacemakers (in children or adults)
What treatments and special technologies do we offer?
Department of Pediatric & Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery
At our Department of Pediatric & Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery, we perform a wide array of operations on patients with inborn heart defects. Most of the surgeries are performed during the neonatal period or during childhood. A minority of our patients undergo surgery when they are over 20 years old.
Sheba’s physicians have become worldwide pioneers in many types of surgery. We are currently the only medical center using minimally invasive techniques in congenital cardiac surgery, such as VSD and ASD closure.
We use state-of-the-art technologies to provide the most helpful treatments for congenital heart defects, including:
- Nitric oxide to treat pulmonary hypertension
- High frequency ventilation
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
- Ventricular assist devices
We offer an extensive range of sophisticated electrophysiology treatments. Our experienced specialists monitor every child to provide treatment as needed, either with drug therapy or ablation. Patients who suffer from rapid arrhythmias or conduction disorders will be referred for invasive cardiac electrophysiology, radiofrequency ablation (RFA), or cryoablation.
Our premier medical team comprises eight pediatric cardiologists, two intensive care specialists, two internationally renowned senior congenital heart surgeons, and several medical fellows in various disciplines. Specialized nurses assist with every patient’s treatment.
Alain Serraf, MD
Chairman of the The Edmond J. Safra International Congenital Heart Center
Prof. Serraf is a world-renowned specialist in congenital heart diseases. As a leading expert in cardiac surgery and pediatric cardiac surgery, he has authored over 50 scholarly articles. He graduated from the Medical School Paris XII, and is a visiting professor in several international universities.
David Mishaly, MD
Director of the Department of Pediatric & Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery
Dr. Mishaly has invented a revolutionary minimally invasive surgical technique used to treat congenital heart defects in children. He is the only doctor in the world performing this type of surgery. The technique boasts 99% healing rate and 100% aesthetic satisfaction in patients.
Amir Vardi, MD
Director, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Edmund and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital
Dr. Vardi is a senior physician with a specialty in cardiac intensive care for children. He manages the ECMO Unit at the Safra Children’s Hospital. Dr. Vardi received his medical degree from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, and completed a specialization in pediatric intensive care at the CMCD Children’s Hospital in Dallas.
Uriel Katz, MD
Director, Pediatric Cardiology Unit
Dr. Katz is a highly qualified specialist with particular expertise in non-invasive pediatric cardiology, fetal echocardiography, 3D echocardiograms, and transesophageal echocardiography. He is also a clinical instructor at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Dr. Katz received his medical degree from the Hadassah School of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and he completed an internship in pediatrics at Schneider Medical Center, Petah Tikva, and a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Long Island Jewish Hospital, New York, USA. Dr. Katz is an active member of the “Save the Heart of a Child” organization, which sends doctors to third world countries to care for children with heart problems.
Holistic Care for Children
The medical team at the Edmond J. Safra International Congenital Heart Center treats every patient with genuine compassion, focusing not just on the disease but on the child’s overall well-being. Our multidisciplinary staff provides around-the-clock care, staying by your side throughout every step of treatment. We provide professional, first-rate medicine within a pleasant, relaxed setting. Treating congenital heart defects can be complex and challenging for both the child and his or her family. Sheba offers a variety of support services to help you cope, including a psychologist, occupational therapist, and nutritionist – all under one roof on our comprehensive campus.