Division of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery


Appointments (615) 936-5500
Pediatric Heart Institute
2200 Children’s Way
5143 Doctor's Office Tower
Nashville, TN 37232-9292
Adminstrative (615) 936-5500
Fax (615) 343-0042

Karla G. Christian, M.D.

Associate Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
Associate Professor of Cardiac Surgery
Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgical Education

Dr. Christian is the Associate Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgical Education. Dr. Christian received a BS cum laude in Mathematics from the University of Washington in 1981. She subsequently obtained her MD with honors from the University of Washington in 1985. She came to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 1988 to complete her general surgery training, and continued in the cardiothoracic residency, completing this training in 1994. Dr. Christian joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1994, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002. She specializes in complex congenital heart surgery, and also performs pediatric and adult heart transplants. She is active in adult cardiac surgery as well. She enjoys participating in resident and medical student education, and collaborates in research projects, primarily related to children's cardiac surgery. She is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha and Phi Beta Kappa. She is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.


  • B.S. cum laude in Mathematics, University of Washington, 1981, Phi Beta Kappa
  • M.D. with honors, University of Washington, 1985, AOA  


Postgraduate Training

  • General Surgery Residency, University of Washington (1985-88)
  • General Surgery Residency, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (1988-91)
  • Cardiothoracic Residency, Vanderbilt University Medical Center 1994    


  • Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
  • Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery
  • Member of the Congenital Heart Surgeon's Society    

Clinical Interests

  • Complex congenital heart surgery
  • Pediatric and adult heart transplantation
  • Adult cardiac surgery 

Research Interests

  • Children's cardiac surgery
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt 
2200 Children’s Way, 5247 Doctor’s Office Tower 
Nashville, TN  37232-9292 
Phone: (615) 936-5500 
Email: karla.christian@Vanderbilt.edu

This page was last updated March 9, 2016 and is maintained by