Highly Experienced with Great Outcomes
Research shows that hospitals and surgeons who perform more surgeries tend to have better outcomes. Although single ventricle defects are relatively rare, these conditions account for nearly a quarter of all the heart surgeries we perform.
Recognized for Excellence
Duke Children’s Hospital is verified as a Level I Children's Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons. This Level I designation recognizes our commitment to providing the safest and highest-quality surgical care to our young patients.
Specialized Intensive Care
Babies with congenital defects are transitioned immediately to one of our specialized intensive care units and cared for by neonatologists and other pediatric specialists. Our Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) is staffed by physicians with specific training in critical and heart care. Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has a Level IV designation, indicating we provide the highest level of care for critically ill infants. Once babies have stabilized from their more acute conditions, they move to nearby step-down units. There, they continue to grow and develop skills -- such as feeding -- that are needed before they can safely transition home.
A Personal Touch with Professional Expertise
Our single ventricle program’s dedicated nurse practitioner builds personal connections with each child in our care and their families. Their involvement extends beyond surgery, post-op, and even discharge through virtual monitoring and frequent check-ins. We help coordinate care and communication between their local pediatricians and cardiologist to ensure they are all working as a team to provide the best care for your child.
We go above and beyond to incorporate as many of your preferences as possible. Parents are treated as part of their child’s care team. Our lactation consultants support new mothers to provide their own milk for their babies while hospitalized; and we can provide donor human milk from an HMBANA-certified milk bank when a mother’s milk is not available. We also encourage kangaroo care -- this skin-to-skin contact has proven benefits, including stabilizing your baby’s heart rate and helping to regulate body temperature.
Our family-centered care includes support groups, wellness programs, and education for siblings to help them understand what is happening to their brother or sister. We have a Ronald McDonald House Family Room that offers amenities to make your family’s stay as comfortable as possible.
We’re always looking for ways to advance single ventricle heart disease treatment. In addition to clinical trials that could get you access to new therapies faster, we also maintain internal databases that we use for patient monitoring, comparative effectiveness research, and quality improvement. Also, Duke is one of 69 centers in the United States and Canada that participate in the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC), which aims to improve survival and quality of life in infants with certain single ventricle heart defects.
Quality of Life
Our Neonatal Quality of Life Program is for newborns and infants with life-threatening, and potentially life-limiting, conditions. A team of doctors, nurse practitioners, spiritual counselors, and social workers specialize in maximizing comfort and providing pain and symptom relief. They also provide emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual support for your family. Our Child Life program helps your young child cope with hospitalization through play, procedure preparation, and self-expression activities. They can meet other children going through similar experiences in our activity room.