The HeArT (High Acuity Transition) Program provides intense outpatient follow-up care for cardiac patients who are at the greatest risk of heart failure, growth problems and neurodevelopmental impairments.
Infants with congenital heart defects (CHD), especially single ventricle physiology and hypoplastic left heart syndrome, need frequent and extensive follow-up care in their early infancy. Patients with single ventricle heart defects typically undergo three cardiac surgical procedures during the first few years of life. During the gaps between the first and second operation, these children are at risk for various cardiac problems, as well as feeding issues and poor weight gain. Such patients need frequent cardiology clinic visits and readmissions to the hospital in between planned and unplanned procedures and hospitalizations.
Our HeArT Clinic is designed to provide highly individualized outpatient care to the most fragile children with heart disease. The HeArT Clinic team consists of a dedicated pediatric nurse practitioner and cardiologists from Lurie Children’s Single Ventricle Center of Excellence with special expertise in the care of children with complex congenital heart disease. Our clinical staff is dedicated to assisting neonates and infants with single ventricle physiology in order to optimize healthy outcomes, foster developmental care, and facilitate smooth transitions between the hospital and home.
Our patients are also enrolled in our Interstage Home Monitoring Program (IHM). These patients are sent home with special medical equipment, such as a hospital grade pulse oximeter, baby scale, and specialized iPad to log all daily intake and measurements. This technology helps the team to monitor their patient's progress at home, and detect subtle changes that need further evaluation. Our dedicated nurse practitioner and nurse coordinator meet families prenatally and then work in weekly collaboration with the family, pediatrician, and local referring cardiology team to ensure the best possible outcome after the baby is born. Our team partners with families to carefully monitor each patient’s oxygen saturations, growth, and nutrition in addition to coordinating follow-up with our NICU-Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic (NCNP). Later on, the program helps patients with complex heart disease transition back to their primary cardiologist or seek continued care in our Single Ventricle Center of Excellence.