BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — February is Heart Month and Children’s of Alabama is doing its part to help raise awareness about heart disease in children.

Children’s of Alabama is home to the Joseph s. Bruno Pediatric Heart Center, one of the largest cardiovascular programs in the southeast for children that provides life-saving care right in Birmingham.

“With pediatrics it tends to be more along the lines of congenital heart disease or conditions that come up that can not really be prevented,” pediatric division director Dr. Yung Lau said.

Lau said how doctors treat and care for young heart patients is changing and it’s saving lives.

“With advances in operations as well as the care around those children, we now have a success rate well over 90%,” Lau said. “So a huge difference as to what we were able to accomplish 25 years ago.”

Those procedures and surgeries happen right here in Birmingham at the Joseph S. Bruno Pediatric Heart Center. In 2022, the center performed 475 cardiac surgeries with a 99% survival rate.

“There are procedures that we can accomplish without actually having to do an open heart operation,” Lau said. “Things like putting valves in a patient’s heart using a catheter and being able to go home the next day rather than having to go through a big bypass operation.”

Lau said both children and babies are having better outcomes thanks to this center, where patients from as far as Mobile and Huntsville come.

“We’re able to give them state of the art care as good as they can get anywhere else in the country,” Lau said.