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Cardiologist examining smiling girl with stethoscope

Center for Single Ventricle Care

The Center for Single Ventricle Care provides for an especially vulnerable group of children who are born with “half a heart.” These fragile babies have a single pumping chamber or ventricle instead of two and require urgent open heart surgery within the first week of life. Subsequent operations are staged to re-route the circulatory system to eventually allow the single ventricle to pump red oxygenated blood to the body while the blue blood is channeled to flow passively directly to the lungs. 

The center aims to seamlessly integrate a multidisciplinary group of professionals to provide a comprehensive continuum of care from the prenatal period to adulthood.

The single ventricle team includes representatives from pediatric cardiology, pediatric cardiac surgery, neurodevelopment, neonatology, gastroenterology, general pediatrics, pulmonology, nursing, speech and swallowing therapy, social work, and nutrition and child life.

A key component of the Center is the Interstage Surveillance Program created to monitor the baby between the first two surgeries, usually done in the first 6 months of life. This stage is fraught with a high risk of death, which the surveillance team aims to minimize.

The single ventricle team’s involvement starts at the Carmen and John Thain Center for Prenatal Pediatrics to the nationally designated Level III C NICU after birth and continues through childhood. We eventually help patients transition to the Schneeweiss Adult Congenital Heart Center, which is one of the oldest centers in the country for the treatment of adult congenital heart disease.