Why Choose Lurie Children’s Single Ventricle Center of Excellence
Our Single Ventricle Center of Excellence team is led by Kiona Allen, MD, and Michelle Steltzer, APN, is composed of experts in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with all types of single ventricle physiology. Our center brings together a full range of specialists to help guide you and your family through all components of your child's journey. Our multidisciplinary team includes clinicians from Cardiovascular Surgery, Cardiology, Clinical Nutrition, Palliative Care and Developmental Therapies. Depending on the needs of each patient, additional referrals are made to a variety of other specialties.
Our team meets weekly to discuss and decide on a care plan for each patient, which allows multiple heart doctors to weigh in on treatment options for your child. Single ventricle physiology is typically treated through a series of two or three palliative (non-curative) surgeries in the first few years of life. Despite many advances in the single ventricle care over the past several decades, these children often face additional difficulties with their heart and other organ functions in the long term - requiring future operations, complex testing, multiple hospitalizations, and frequent outpatient follow up. Our single ventricle team is uniquely equipped to help patients and their families face these challenges both inside and outside the hospital.
In some cases, the Fontan circulation is eventually unable to pump enough oxygenated blood to the body and vital organs leading to worsening heart failure, arrhythmias, and problems with the other vital organs. The Single Ventricle Team partners directly with our Pediatric Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Program, the only program of its kind in the state and a leading transplant program in the country, to support children and adults with Failing Fontan physiology they move towards a heart failure and/or heart transplant evaluation. Adult patients may also be referred to our internationally respected Fontan Conversion and Arrhythmia Surgery program, among the largest in the world.
Passionate about pioneering advancements and improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with single ventricle physiology, our team participates in multiple quality and research initiatives centered around improving outcomes for these complex patients. Our program is also leading the field of cardiac stem cell therapy through our Fontan FuturesSM Initiative and our ground breaking NIH-funded clinical stem cell trials led by Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD.
As your child grows, Lurie Children’s Heart Center also understands that your child needs more than just a healthy heart to thrive. Our NICU-Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program provides close monitoring of our complex patients from early childhood in the NICU-Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program: Early Childhood Clinic through school age in the NICU-Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program: Child & Adolescent Clinic. We recognize that supporting the whole family is important. For families traveling from a distance we have easy access to a close-by Ronald McDonald House, built in 2012, with 70 private guest rooms. We are within the Northwestern Memorial Hospital complex, and for our patients who need transitioning to adult care, we have an integrated program in partnership with Northwestern Medicine to bridge patients to adult congenital care. We know that children born with single ventricle and their families face difficulties, but our Heart Center Team will partner with you to provide expert, innovative, compassionate, and individualized care for your child, allowing them to meet these challenges throughout their childhood and beyond.