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 warrant frequent cardiology clinic visits and occasionally need to be readmitted to the hospital in between procedures.
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. The HeArt Program’s clinical staff are dedicated to assisting neonates and infants with single ventricle to stay as healthy as possible, with careful monitoring.
Our patients are also enrolled in our Home Monitoring Program (HMP). These patients are sent home with special medical equipment, such as a pulse oximeter and baby scale, to help monitor their progress at home and detect subtle changes that warrant further evaluation. The program is led by a dedicated nurse practitioner who meets families prenatally and will work in weekly collaboration with the family, pediatrician, and local referring cardiology team to ensure the best possible outcome. Our team will help carefully monitor each patient’s oxygen saturations, growth and nutrition in addition to coordinating follow-up with our neurodevelopmental clinic. 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.