The Need

One in 100 children is born with heart disease. Only one in 10 has access to care.
Children's HeartLink is working to change that.

Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect and the birth defect that causes the most infant deaths. In most regions of the world, parents have nowhere to turn for appropriate medical care when their child is born with a heart defect, an abnormality of the heart that is also called congenital heart disease. Read more about congenital heart disease around the world.


Every Child Deserves a Strong Start in Life

Sadly, many children with heart disease who don’t have access to care die soon after birth or during infancy. Others survive but don’t thrive. And as they grow up they can’t keep up with their peers on the playground or in school.

We can’t change the incidence of congenital heart disease. But we can reach more children who need lifesaving care.

Since 1969 Children’s HeartLink has been dedicated to caring for children with heart disease. On an annual basis over 122,000 children are served at our partner hospitals around the world, and that number is growing every year. Thousands of medical professionals in underserved regions are now more equipped to care for children with heart disease. Read more about our impact here. 

Our approach has changed since our early days as a medical mission organization. But our commitment to helping children with heart disease has never wavered.

We’re proud of our accomplishments, but we need to do more. Ninety percent of the children born with heart disease still don’t get the care they need.

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Our Sustainable Approach

Treating children with heart disease is the right thing to do. Training local providers is the smart way to do it.

Training and mentoring are the best way to leave a lasting impact in parts of the world where there are so many children with heart disease and so few specialists in pediatric heart care. Worldwide, the need for more specialists is great.

We lead training partnerships with medical volunteer teams from top teaching and research institutions. These volunteer teams commit to multi-year partnerships to train and empower their peers in the delivery of high-quality, team-based care. Read more about our work to support and train nurses. 

When these local hospitals and programs consistently deliver high-quality, complex care, they become a Children’s HeartLink Center of Excellence. Centers of Excellence commit to training other pediatric cardiac specialists from low-resource environments. This is the heart of our train-the-trainer delivery model. This is how we treat the most children the fastest.

A Leader in This Field

“Partnerships are at the heart of Children’s HeartLink’s model, and as a leader in this field the organization helps to develop the right resources and make them available to those who need them. Fighting congenital heart disease on a global scale is a big undertaking, and it’s essential to equip all medical teams so they can have the greatest impact possible.”

Kathy Jenkins, M.D., MPH, Executive Director, Center for Applied Pediatric Quality Analysis, Boston Children’s Hospital; Children’s HeartLink International Advisory Board


The International Quality Improvement Collaborative was launched to decrease mortality and major complications after heart surgery.


The Parent Education/Discharge Instructions educate caregivers and families on caring for children before and after heart surgery.