MUSC pediatric heart program ranks among best in country

The cardiology program at MUSC Children’s Hospital was named 31st best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News & World Report named the pediatric heart program at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital among the best in the country this week.

It was the only children’s hospital in South Carolina that earned any recognition from U.S. News & World Report this year.

“We are once again honored to be recognized as one of the top pediatric cardiology and heart surgery programs in the country,” said Dr. Andy Atz, the MUSC Children’s Heart Center director.

U.S. News & World Report surveyed 184 pediatric centers to determine this year’s annual children’s hospital rankings, which were released Tuesday. Every year, it names the best children’s hospitals for 10 pediatric specialties.

MUSC Children’s Hospital earned recognition for its pediatric nephrology and gastroenterology programs on recent U.S. News & World Report lists, but only its pediatric heart program — named 31st on the Top 50 list — made the cut this year.

“We’re right on the edge of being ranked or not,” said Medical University CEO Pat Cawley.

If the hospital eventually earns prestigious Magnet Recognition for its nursing program — a four-year process the hospital is now pursuing — or added more slots for pediatric medical residents and fellows, it would probably garner more attention from U.S. News & World Report, he said.

MUSC operates its adult cardiology program separately from its Children’s Hospital heart program. Last year, MUSC temporarily suspended all adult heart transplants after months of poor patient outcomes and at least one death. Those adult surgeries resumed earlier this year.

None of South Carolina’s five children’s hospitals made the 2015 U.S. News & World Report “Honor Roll,” which named Boston Children’s Hospital the best overall pediatric hospital in the country.

MUSC plans to build a new $350 million children’s hospital by 2019. Hospital leaders say the existing children’s hospital, now almost 30 years ago, is too small and should be updated.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.