Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford Plans Major Expansion of its World-renowned Heart Center

Largest, most experienced pediatric heart surgery program on the West Coast performs over 600 surgeries a year, and plans for more capacity through expansion

For Release: September 8, 2015

STANFORD, Calif. — It’s a very exciting time for Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford and Stanford Medicine Children’s Health.

This month marks a two-year countdown to the opening of the hospital’s $1.1 billion, 521,000 square foot expansion. Almost doubling the size of the current hospital and adding 149 patient beds, the expansion and new main building will increase access to America’s most advanced and family-friendly hospital for children and expectant mothers.

The September, 2017 opening will ensure that families who need high-quality care aren’t turned away due to lack of space. It will also provide a launching pad for expanding and renovating the current hospital next door. This will include creating room to grow the nationally-ranked Pediatric Heart Center, which due to demand will premiere a new and larger space in 2018.

“This is excellent news for patients and their families,” said Stephen Roth, MD, MPH, director of the Heart Center with famed pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon and Heart Center executive director, Frank Hanley, MD. “Expanding our Heart Center means that even more children with complex heart problems, as well as growing numbers of adult survivors of congenital heart disease, will have access to one of America’s most advanced programs. Many of these children and adult survivors have run out of options elsewhere.”

In a new Q&A, Roth talks about the growth and the expansion of the Heart Center

Why is the Heart Center growing?

“It’s a very simple answer,” said Roth, who is also a professor of pediatric cardiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “There’s an increasing demand for our highly specialized services and the many different congenital and acquired heart conditions we treat. We have a well-deserved reputation for expert teamwork, advanced tools and technology, and one of the most highly qualified and experienced physician and care teams anywhere.

“And we’re not the only ones around here who are growing due to increased demand. Just down the street, Ronald McDonald House at Stanford will open an expansion in 2016 that increases its capacity to more than 100 rooms. This will make it one of the largest Ronald McDonald Houses in the world, and it’s where many of our Heart Center families find a supportive community and home-away-from-home while their child receives treatment.”

How large is the 2018 Heart Center expansion?

“We’re adding seven Outpatient Heart Center clinic rooms, making a total of 12, and creating and equipping 22 new inpatient beds. Together, this takes us from our current 20 to 36 beds in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, and 20 to 26 beds in our cardiology ward. There will also be six new operating suites in the hospital expansion, so the new total will be 13 when added to our existing number of seven. This means more access for lifesaving heart surgeries and transplants. We are also creating a state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab and expanding our advanced imaging capabilities.”

What about staffing?

“Building our bigger team is already under way, and it includes a nationwide recruitment of the most highly skilled cardiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other staff. They will join more than 250 professionals who currently work in the Heart Center.

“We’re very lucky that so many people want to be a part of what we do,” Roth added. “Each person on our Heart Center team knows that they are playing a critical role in helping to advance the field of pediatric cardiology, and they are proud of Stanford’s reputation for excellence.” 

What makes the Heart Center so successful?

“A combination of research, innovation, and outstanding care and outcomes,” Roth said. “We’re currently taking part in more than 20 clinical research trials. And when it comes to innovation, Stanford has long been a world leader. America’s first successful adult heart transplant was performed by Dr. Norman Shumway at Stanford in 1968, and we’ve been building on that achievement ever since. Now, 47 years later, we are able to save children’s lives in ways that we did not imagine were possible in those early days of discovery.

“For instance, Dr. Hanley has perfected a cardiac operation termed unifocalization. This is often a marathon surgery our Heart Center surgical team offers that creates or rebuilds the blood vessels in the lungs of children with certain types of complex heart defects. Other surgeons choose to instead perform multiple operations over months or years that do not adequately rebuild these blood vessels. This requires multiple surgeries and hospitalizations that ultimately do not produce the best possible results.

“Offering an innovative surgery like unifocalization and its 98 percent success rate is one of the reasons Dr. Hanley is beloved by families and has been called by his peers ‘one of the elite half-dozen cardiothoracic surgeons in America.’”

What is the patient impact?

“A compelling way to measure impact is through the stories of the lives we save,” Roth said. “Just read about 3-year-old Kate Zuno of Ukiah, Calif., who is successfully recovering from a recent heart transplant. Or, the story of 5-year-old Nayra from Valencia, Spain. No other team could perform the repairs needed on Nayra’s heart, so she and her family traveled 6000 miles to Stanford where she was successfully treated by Dr. Hanley and our Heart Center team.

“Whether it’s offering the most innovative technology and treatments, or the latest in cutting-edge protocols, we want to ensure children like Kate and Nayra can access the care they need to have best chance for a healthier life. This will be the true impact of our hospital and Heart Center expansion. We are passionate about this—no child should ever be turned away from the best care possible simply because we don’t have enough space.”

By the Numbers: Last Year at the Pediatric Heart Center

  • 6600 outpatient visits
  • More than 600 heart surgeries, and another 500 surgeries at Heart Center partner programs: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Sutter Memorial Center in Sacramento, and Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera
  • 25 heart transplants
  • 16 ventricular assist device implants
  • 8,238 transthoracic echocardiograms
  • 1,030 admissions to the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit
  • 20 clinical trials currently under way


Robert Dicks
(650) 497-8364

About Stanford Medicine Children's Health

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its center, is the Bay Area’s largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. Along with Stanford Health Care and the Stanford School of Medicine, we are part of Stanford Medicine, an ecosystem harnessing the potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education, and clinical care to improve health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at

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