Dr. John P. Cleary, Neonatology

Dr. John Cleary, specializes in all aspects of neonatal intensive care at CHOC neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Dr. Cleary serves as the NICU Extracorporeal Life Support Program (ECLS) medical director at CHOC. His research interests include synchronized mechanical ventilation, high frequency ventilation, pulmonary hypertension and non-invasive monitoring. He is board certified in both pediatrics and neonatal perinatal medicine.  He received his ECLS training during his Neonatology Fellowship at San Diego Children’s Hospital under the mentorship of Golde Dudell. He board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Neonatal Perinatal Medicine. Dr. Clearly has led the institutional ECLS team at CHOC for over 20 years. He is regional director of neonatology for CHOC Specialists. He is the California Children’s Services designated medical director of ECLS in the CHOC NICU.

Dr. Cleary is the immediate past president of the California Association of Neonatologists, provides direction as consultant in redesign of California Children’s Services and is a member of the California Department of Health, Children’s Subspecialty Coalition executive committee.


CHOC Hospital
1201 W. La Veta Avenue
Orange, CA 92868

CHOC at Mission Hospital
27700 Medical Center Rd. 5th Floor
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Western Medical Center
1001 N. Tustin Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92705

St. Jude Medical Center
101 E. Valencia Mesa Dr.
Fullerton, CA 92835


  • Fellowship
    University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California
  • Internship
    University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in Worcester
  • Medical School
    University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in Worcester
  • Residency
    University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in Worcester

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Clinical Professor, Pediatrics
    University of California, Irvine
  • Associate Clinical Professor, Pediatrics
    University of California, Los Angeles, Harbor

Administrative Appointments

  • Associate Clinical Director, NICU, CHOC
  • Associate Director, CVICU, CHOC
  • Director, ECMO, CHOC
  • Neonatology, CHOC Specialists

Honors and Awards

  • Physician of Excellence
    OCMA, Multiple years
  • Teaching Award
    CHOC, Multiple years

Lectures and Presentations

Pharyngeal Electrical Stimulation Improves Oral Feedings in High Risk Newborns

Professional Organizations

  • American Heart Association
  • American Medical Student Association
  • California Association of Neonatologists
  • Extracorporeal Life Support Organization
  • Irish American Pediatric Association
  • Orange County Medical Association
  • Worcester District Medical Society


1. Management preferences in ECMO mode for congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Delaplain PT, Jancelewicz T, Di Nardo M, Zhang L, Yu PT, Cleary JP, Morini F, Harting MT, Nguyen DV, Guner YS; Study by ELSO CDH Interest Group. J Pediatr Surg. 2019 Jan 31. pii: S0022- 3468(19)30056-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2019.01.019. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30786989

2. Outcomes of infants with congenital diaphragmatic hernia treated with venovenous versus venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: A propensity score approach. Guner YS, Harting MT, Fairbairn K, Delaplain PT, Zhang L, Chen Y, Kabeer MH, Yu P, Cleary JP, Stein JE, Stolar C, Nguyen DV. J Pediatr Surg. 2018 Nov;53(11):2092-2099. doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.06.003. Epub 2018 Jun 7. PMID: 30318280

3. Trends in Mortality and Risk Characteristics of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Treated With Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. Guner YS, Delaplain PT, Zhang L, Di Nardo M, Brogan T, Chen Y, Cleary JP, Yu PT, Harting MT, Ford HR, Nguyen DV. ASAIO J. 2018 May 23. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0000000000000834. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29863628 4. Development and Validation of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Mortality-Risk Models for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. Guner YS, Nguyen DV, Zhang L, Chen Y, Harting MT, Rycus P, Barbaro R, Di Nardo M, Brogan TV, Cleary JP, Yu PT. ASAIO J. 2018 Nov/Dec;64(6):785-794. doi: 10.1097/MAT.0000000000000716. PMID: 29117038

5. Cannulating the contraindicated: effect of low birth weight on mortality in neonates with congenital diaphragmatic hernia on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Delaplain PT, Zhang L, Chen Y, Nguyen DV, Di Nardo M, Cleary JP, Yu PT, Guner YS. J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Dec;52(12):2018-2025. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2017.08.037. Epub 2017 Sep 2. PMID: 28941930

6. Birth Tourism and Neonatal Intensive Care: A Children’s Hospital Experience. Mikhael M, Cleary JP, Dhar V, Chen Y, Nguyen DV, Chang AC.
Am J Perinatol. 2016 Dec;33(14):1415-1419. Epub 2016 May 16. PMID: 27183000

7. Pulse Oximetry Overestimates Oxyhemoglobin in Neonates with Critical Congenital Heart Disease. Murphy D, Pak Y, Cleary JP.
Neonatology. 2016;109(3):213-8. doi: 10.1159/000442379. Epub 2016 Jan 23. PMID: 26800085

8. Small Baby Unit Improves Quality and Outcomes in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants. Morris M, Cleary JP, Soliman A.
Pediatrics. 2015 Oct;136(4):e1007-15. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3918. Epub 2015 Sep 7. PMID: 26347427

9. Long-Range Optical Coherence Tomography of the Neonatal Upper Airway for Early Diagnosis of Intubation-related Subglottic Injury. Sharma GK, Ahuja GS, Wiedmann M, Osann KE, Su E, Heidari AE, Jing JC, Qu Y, Lazarow F, Wang A, Chou L, Uy CC, Dhar V, Cleary JP, Pham N, Huoh K, Chen Z, Wong BJ. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2015 Dec 15;192(12):1504-13. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201501-0053OC. PMID: 26214043


Long Range Optical Coherence Tomography of the Neonatal Upper Airway for Early Diagnosis of Intubation –related Subglottic Injury. Giriraj Sharma, Gurpreet S. Ahuja, Max Wiedmann, John Patrick Cleary et. al. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Jul 2015

Small Baby Unit Improves Quality and Outcomes in Extremely Low Borth Weight Infants. Mindy Morris, John Patrick Cleary and Antoine Soliman.  Pediatrics Sept 2015

Pulse Oximetry Overestimates Oxyhemoglobin in Neonates with Critical Congenital Heart Disease. Daniel Murphy, Youngju Park and John Patrick Cleary.  Neonatology Jan 2016

Unique Model of Neonatal Palliative Care Delivery. Serisha Perugu, Jessica Holtorf, Vijay Dhar and John Patrick Cleary.  Pediatrics Feb 2016

Birth Tourism and Neonatal Intensive Care: A Children’s Hospital Experience. Michel Mikhael, John Patrick Cleary, Vijay Dhar, Anthony Chang et. al.  American Journal of Perinatology May 2016

Book Chapter – Neonatal Extracorporeal Life Support, In International Textbook of Neonatology. Editor Balaji Govindaswami.  In Press.

Yigit S. Guner, Danh V. Nguyen, Lishi Zhang, Yanjun Chen, Matthew T. Harting, Peter Rycus, Ryan Barbaro, Matteo Di Nardo, Thomas V. Brogan, John Cleary, Peter T Yu. Development and Validation of Pre and On-ECMO Mortality-Risk Models for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. 2016. Presented at ELSO 2016.  Submitted for Publication.

Integrating Ethics and Palliative Care when choosing ECMO and Therapeutic Hypothermia. Sirisha Perugu, MBBS, MD and John Patrick Cleary, MD, FAAP.


We don’t need neonatal ECMO anymore? Platform Presentation 27th Annual ELSO Conference – AmSECT San Diego 2016 – John Patrick Cleary MD

Meeting Lead Organizer – Cool Topics in Neonatology 22nd and 23rd Annual Meetings of the California Association of Neonatologists and AAP Perinatal Section. Including lectures on Pulmonary Hypertension in CLD and CDH

Co-Creator of NeoHeart – Cardiovascular Management of The Newborn. Organized 2015 and 2017 Meetings which bring together approx. 500 neonatal can cardiac leaders in a modern format to discuss issues many of which are relevant to ECLS community.  Key example is half day PH session partnering with Robin Steinhorn MD and Krisa VanMeurs MD in 2015 and with Steve Abman MD and John Kinsella MD


Our neonatologists commonly treat the following conditions in newborns and babies:

  • John P Cleary MD
    • Appointments:
    • Specialty: Neonatology
    • Board Certified: Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
    • On Staff at: CHOC Children's Hospital and CHOC Children's at Mission Hospital


NICU palliative care

Neonatal Palliative Care Education Symposium

2nd Annual Neonatal Palliative Care Education Symposium recorded on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 at CHOC Hospital, Orange County CA.

Neoheart presentation

NeoHeart: Cardiovascular Management of the Neonate

Many controversies exist in the cardiovascular management of neonates. This grand rounds video strives to fill the knowledge gaps by emphasizing the importance of multi-disciplinary interaction.

Dr. John Cleary on pediatric cardiology

Pediatric Cardiology: Dr. John Cleary

In this segment from American Health Journal, Dr. John Cleary discusses modern developments in pediatric cardiology.