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Home Monitoring Program

hippo cartoonThe Heart HIPPOS

(High risk Interstage Pediatric Provider Observation Squad)
The Heart Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans is leading the way for high-risk babies with congenital heart disease with its dedicated Home Monitoring Program: The Heart HIPPOS (High risk Interstage Pediatric Provider Observation Squad).

About the program

The mission of the Children’s Hospital Heart Center Home Monitoring Program is to provide comprehensive care for all high-risk, single ventricle patients between their first and second stages of surgical palliation as well as for those complex, two-ventricle patients requiring neonatal palliation prior to their definitive surgical repair. The interstage period for single ventricle patients is known to carry a higher mortality than any other timeframe during these patients’ lives, and careful monitoring has been shown to significantly decrease both their morbidity and mortality during this phase. Our goal is to decrease the number of re-admissions and interstage mortality, giving our single ventricle population the best quality of life.

Why Home Monitoring is critical

The time between the first and second heart surgeries is commonly known as the “interstage period.” It is a vulnerable stage and requires extra monitoring to prevent serious complications, ensure optimal growth and ultimately improve chances of survival and quality of life. While you're at home after the first surgery, your baby's heart is working twice as hard as normal. Our home monitoring program is set up to anticipate problems and support you through this vulnerable time.

The interstage period is an important phase in the infant’s well-being and outcome. Infants with single ventricle congenital heart defects often have poor oral intake and weight gain, which may affect their well-being. Common childhood illnesses, such as a cold or diarrhea, can be life-threatening for these children. Hence, early recognition of signs and symptoms is necessary to be able to obtain immediate evaluation and intervention.

The home monitoring program allows parents and caregivers to actively participate in the care of their babies outside of the hospital. Studies have shown that being surrounded by family, friends and the familiarity of home can help a child recover better. Our program provides support, resources and clinical care to help families transition successfully to the second surgery.

Empowering caregivers

Prior to discharge, The Heart HIPPOS work closely with parents and caregivers to provide extensive training, giving them the confidence and education needed to care for their baby at home. Our home monitoring team provides families with an individualized plan and teaches them how to continue the complex daily care their baby needs including giving medications, obtaining weights, monitoring oxygen levels (saturations), mixing formula, logging data and recognizing red flags that indicate a change in the baby’s health status. They help parents and caregivers learn what health changes to look for in their baby and when to call with concerns.

Our Home Monitoring Program encompasses all aspects of an interstage patient’s outpatient care, including:

  • 24/7 access to the attending cardiologist, nurse practitioner and nurse
  • In-depth teaching and care training before you take your baby home
  • A home scale and other tools for daily recordings of your child's weight, heart rate, oxygen saturation and feedings
  • Weekly updates for your primary cardiologist, documented in your baby's medical record
  • Weekly in person or virtual visits with our nurse and nurse practitioner
  • Utilization of the CHAMP APP for data collection
  • Support from nutrition and social services
  • Hospital readmission, as needed

Home Monitoring Tools

Our specialized team provides round-the-clock support, high-tech monitoring and regular checkups to ensure the best possible outcome for each child in the heart monitoring program. At discharge, each family goes home with a real-time app and personalized binder of information, pulse oximeter and scale for daily monitoring.

The clinical application CHAMP (Cardiac High Acuity Monitoring Program) is accessed through a smartphone and tablet to allow for easy input of home monitoring data by families. Using artificial intelligence to identify acute changes in patients alerting providers of any possible life-threatening changes, allowing earlier intervention to increase survival rates during the interstage period.

The Heart HIPPOS conduct weekly or biweekly follow-up virtual meetings to address concerns and review the data, including saturations, feedings, weights and medications. In addition, the team encourages weekly or biweekly in-clinic appointments for hands-on exams and cardiac imaging. Our program is also a member of the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC) and participates in ongoing research around the care of high-risk single ventricle patients.

Meet the team

The Heart HIPPOS are here to support you and your baby and are available for parents any time of day or night to address questions or concerns during the home monitoring phase. You will have the support of our cardiologists, cardiac intensive care specialists, pediatric heart surgeons, nurse practitioners, nurses, neurodevelopmental pediatricians, dietitians, speech therapists and feeding specialists, all experts in caring for the needs of infants with single ventricle heart defects.

  • Shannon Powell, DO
  • Stephanie Bush, NP
  • Lynn Bardales, RN


Children’s Hospital New Orleans
Cardiology Clinic
200 Henry Clay Ave.
New Orleans, LA

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