AT THE HEART: An Inside Look at Plans for a Reimagined Heart Institute

A rendering of the new UPMC Children's Hosptial Heart Institute

In 2023, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh announced plans to significantly expand its award-winning Heart Institute. Widely regarded as one of the best pediatric cardiology programs in the country with a top-notch team and extraordinary culture of collaboration, UPMC Children’s Heart Institute is uniquely positioned to deliver next-level care to children and adults with heart disease.

Through a comprehensive fundraising campaign, UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation has partnered with generous donors to support expansion efforts. Led by Heart Institute co-directors Jacqueline Kreutzer, MD, and Victor Morell, MD, as well as director of Interventional Cardiology, Bryan Goldstein, MD, the plans center around the construction of a 50,000-square-foot, three-story building to be built atop the hospital’s mid-campus garage. With donor support, the extensive construction project is expected to be completed by 2026.

Filled With Light and Warmth

The new Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s was designed with children and families in mind. With a façade framed in the familiar, vibrant colors that adorn the main hospital building, the reinvented Heart Institute will blend seamlessly into the existing hospital campus. Located on the 45th Street side of UPMC Children’s in Lawrenceville, the rebuilt institute will be easily accessible for patient families and staff. With a multi-flight stairwell encased in glass, the institute will be filled with light and warmth — reflecting the care and empathy at the heart of our internationally renowned cardiology program. Heart Institute patient families may enter the facility via a skyway that connects the building to the main hospital. From the third-floor registration area, patients will be welcomed into a large and inviting waiting room.

Created to appeal to both children and adults, the waiting room will feature rich colors, comfortable seating, and a heart-centric design. From the very start of a family’s visit to the transformed Heart Institute until the moment they leave, they will note the consistency of the care provided. Dedicated cardiology physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, and medical assistants will staff every facet of a patient’s care and recovery, reducing patient anxiety and improving overall outcomes.

“Imagine you’re sitting in this beautiful room waiting for your child’s appointment and every other person in the room also belongs to a heart family,” says Dr. Goldstein. “On top of that, every single staff member with whom you interact is a part of the heart team. There is a fellowship among heart families and clinicians. The new facility will only reinforce those bonds.”

Leading Care in Pittsburgh and Around the World

With the community’s investment in UPMC Children’s Heart Institute, every aspect of the redesigned space will feature the most advanced equipment and technology available. The updated space will boast a state-of-the-art conference center. Featuring interactive screens, comfortable spaces for collaboration, and high-tech audio-visual equipment, the conference center will allow physicians and nurses to consult on difficult cases and participate in and host international cardiology seminars and workshops. Dr. Kreutzer explains, “Our Heart Institute needs to lead in innovation and guide the field on how to provide the best care not only here in Pittsburgh, but around

the world.” Dr. Morell adds, “Over the years, we’ve developed a national and international referral base. We have a robust second opinion program and often see patients with some of the most complex conditions.”

He goes on to explain that a state-of-the-art facility with cooperative technology will empower the Heart Institute’s specialty team to continue to provide outstanding outcomes for patients with complex conditions while contributing to the field through education and consultation. He states, “An investment in the Heart Institute is a gift of hope to children and families.”

Read more about the Heart Institute in our Community Report.