Single ventricle program

The single ventricle program at Children’s Minnesota provides care to patients born with all types of single ventricle heart defects. Our team of specialists are committed to achieving the best outcomes for your child and providing ongoing support and education to your family. Many types of single ventricle heart defects require a series of two to three palliative surgeries in the first few years of a patient’s life. This program was developed to bring coordinated care to our single ventricle patients during the interstage time, which is the vulnerable period between the first and second surgeries. Research has shown these patients who are closely monitored during the interstage period have better outcomes and is considered standard of care.

Conditions we treat and what to expect after diagnosis

Congenital heart disease is often diagnosed during pregnancy or shortly after birth. We treat many types of single ventricle defects, including:

If a baby is diagnosed with a single ventricle heart defect in the prenatal period, the multidisciplinary team at Children’s Minnesota will partner with the Midwest Fetal Care Center to ensure your baby receive the best possible care.

Once your baby is born, our team will assess their needs and provide care in our cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). Your child may be placed on oxygen or a ventilator to help with breathing and may also receive intravenous (IV) medications to assist with heart function.
Once your baby recovers from the first surgery they will be discharged with equipment including a baby scale, pulse oximeter and iPad to keep you and your care team up to date on how your baby is doing. You’ll be closely monitoring your baby’s weight, heart rate, food intake and oxygen levels and entering that information electronically on an iPad provided to you through our Locus platform. Our care team will see the data in real-time, which means your little one is under our expert care while in the comfort of your home. The team of trained nurse practitioners are just a phone call away with any questions or concerns. In person and telehealth visits occur weekly during the interstage period with your child’s single ventricle providers.

Children with these heart defects require lifelong heart care to ensure they have every opportunity to lead healthy lives as they grow older. While surgeries do not cure the heart defect, they do enable many children to lead relatively normal, active lives. However, regular checkups with a cardiologist will be necessary to monitor the possibility of infections, heart rhythm problems, fluid retention and blood clots. Vigorous physical activities and sports may also need to be limited.

Our care team

Our multidisciplinary team includes pediatric cardiologists, nurse practitioners, occupational therapy, nurses and clinical coordinators. We meet weekly to discuss and review care plans for each patient, which allows the entire team to formulate a treatment plan specifically designed for your child.

Our team collaborates with your child’s primary care provider as well as experts from other subspecialties within Children’s Minnesota, including fetal cardiology, cardiac intensive care, neurodevelopment, neonatology, perinatology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, pulmonology, hematology, nutrition, social work and physical therapy.

Why should I choose Children’s Minnesota’s single ventricle program?

Caring for kids is what we do at Children’s Minnesota. Each year, we care for thousands of children with heart conditions — that valuable experience translates into even better care.

The Children’s Minnesota difference:

  • The Children’s Minnesota cardiovascular program is one of the largest and most well-established pediatric cardiovascular programs in the region.
  • Our team consistently achieves treatment results that are among the best in the nation.
  • We provide comprehensive services that extend from before birth into adulthood.
  • We’re committed to national quality initiatives to ensure the very best care for children, such as the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC) — a multicenter network whose mission is to decrease mortality and improve quality of life for infants with single ventricle congenital heart disease and their families.
  • Children’s Minnesota surgeons were the first in the upper Midwest to perform a complex, three-part surgery to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome – a birth defect in which the left side of the heart is underdeveloped.
  • We collaborate with the Mayo Clinic in the care of children with congenital heart disease. The Mayo Clinic – Children’s Minnesota Cardiovascular Collaborative shares program resources and clinical talent to provide the highest-quality pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery services to patients throughout the country.

Contact us and location

Children’s Minnesota Hospital – Minneapolis
Edward J. Phillips Cardiovascular Care Center
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

For more information, please call Children’s Heart Clinic at 612-813-8800.