Heart Institute

Complex Congenital Heart Disease and Development Clinic


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A nurse from the CCHDD Clinic cares for a child after heart surgery.

Children’s Hospital Colorado has a specialized follow-up clinic for babies born with complex congenital heart disease who need palliative surgery (a series of surgeries to improve cardiac circulation and help these babies thrive and grow). Children with this type of heart defect usually require a series of three surgeries during their first two to three years of life.

The Complex Congenital Heart Disease and Development (CCHDD) Clinic is here to support your family and baby every step of the way. We will follow your newborn throughout the entire process: after any heart surgeries, through discharge home from the hospital, and throughout your child’s long-term growth and development.

Follow-up care after heart surgery and throughout childhood

In addition to caring for your baby after heart surgery and your discharge home, the CCHDD Clinic also provides follow-up care throughout childhood. As part of our long-term care, we will regularly evaluate your child’s development and coordinate with your pediatrician and other specialists as needed. This helps ensure that your have the resources you need to care for your child’s heart and to meet normal developmental milestones. 

As part of our multidisciplinary care, experts from different areas of the hospital will monitor your child’s treatment. Our clinic includes specialists from pediatric cardiology, pediatric primary care, nutrition, infant feeding/development, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech/language pathology. 

What complex congenital heart diseases does the CCHDD clinic treat?

We see children with the following complex congenital heart diseases:

  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Hypoplastic right heart syndrome (tricuspid atresia)
  • Single ventricle (double outlet right ventricle, double inlet left ventricle and/or severe Ebstein’s anomaly)
  • Pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum (requiring a shunt and surgical palliation)
  • Any child with a cardiac shunt for pulmonary blood flow (BT shunt, Sano shunt)

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for complex congenital heart disease?

When your child is seen in the Complex Congenital Heart Disease and Development Clinic, our comprehensive care plan includes:

  • Weekly to bi-weekly appointments after a newborn’s first stage of palliative surgery (for a cardiac shunt patient)
  • A developmental feeding specialist for infant feeding concerns
  • A home pulse oximeter (used to monitor the oxygen levels in your child’s blood after discharge from the hospital)
  • A dedicated pediatric nurse practitioner and clinic coordinator who works closely with your family by coordinating care with your pediatrician and other specialists
  • Frequent echocardiograms (ECHOs) to monitor the structure and blood flow of your child’s heart
  • A nutrition assessment at each visit
  • Referrals for home therapy and services
  • Developmental assessments every six months until three years of age, and then annually until a young adult is transferred to an adult cardiologist