Children's Hospital Colorado
HYPOPLASTIC LEFT HEART SYNDROME (HLHS)

Giving Hope a Heartbeat

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Our Experienced Family

Jaden

Karla, Derick and Jaden have been through quite a journey with HLHS, including three surgeries, tough recoveries and the renewed hope for a long, happy life.

Our New Family

Jaxon

Kara, Kelly and their son Jaxon are just beginning their HLHS journey with us. And while Jaxon is just weeks away from his second surgery, Kara is worried that it will change his personality. Together, they're searching for answers about the future they can expect.

HOW TO SAY IT
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Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
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Dr. Jaggers, of Children's Hospital Colorado, explains hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
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James Jaggers, MD: HLHS explained

"He's going to be doing things a normal kid does."

Karla, Jaden’s mom

When you get the news

Hearing that something might be wrong with your baby is devastating; you want as many answers as you can get. These families received options from doctors at other hospitals that they wouldn't accept. But Children's Colorado gave them a path of hope.

You're always just a few steps away from your child

Instead of having the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) in another building like other hospitals, ours is just a floor below the delivery suite. So, while your child is recovering from heart surgery and you're recovering from delivery, you'll always be near each other.

Learn about our CICU

Kara holds her son Jaxon while talking about the CICU being close to the delivery suite at Children's Hospital Colorado.

"Whenever I wanted to see him it was a two-minute walk."

Kara, Jaxon's mom
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HLHS: the basics

Get an in-depth condition overview, treatment options and what to expect during recovery.

Learn more
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The three surgeries: basics

Read more about the three surgeries in the HLHS journey.

Learn about the surgeries
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Advanced fetal treatment

Our Colorado Fetal Care Center cares for moms and babies with the most complex conditions.

See what we offer

The first surgery: the Norwood

Within days of birth, a patient will undergo the first of three heart surgeries on their HLHS journey. Both families share their sons' first days and what it was like to part with them to undergo surgery.

Jaden's team

As a patient with a congenital heart defect, Jaden receives care from a multidisciplinary team of doctors and clinicians through the Complex Congenital Heart Disease and Development (CCHDD) Clinic, seeing them all in one visit. His team continuously evaluates his condition and coordinates care with Jaden's pediatrician. It's just one way we're ensuring Jaden has a long, happy and healthy life.

Learn more about the Complex Congenital Heart Disease & Development Clinic (CCHDD)

Picture of Jaden, a young boy who was treated for HLHS at Children's Hospital Colorado.
Collection of twelve headshots of the physicians who worked together to treat Jaden for HLHS at Children's Hospital Colorado.
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Finding hope

Rumors of low HLHS outcomes were dispelled when this parent saw outcomes at Children's Colorado.

Read the story
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What to ask your doctor

Managing a condition like HLHS can be overwhelming. Here's what you might forget, or not even know to ask.

Get the list
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Cardiac Anesthesiology

Our specially trained anesthesiologists are dedicated to pediatric patients in the Heart Institute.

Why it matters

The second surgery: the Glenn

When a patient with HLHS reaches four to six months old, it's usually time for the Glenn surgery. It's a tough proposition for families who are finally settling into routine at home to imagine their child going back into surgery.

What is Glenn Head?

Following the Glenn surgery, some patients undergo a difficult time while their body adjusts to the new way their blood flows. Doctors have equated the feeling to a migraine.

 

Dr. Jaggers, of Children's Hospital Colorado, explains Glenn Head.
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Glenn Head: an explanation

"Glenn Head was the hardest part, but we got through it."

Karla, Jaden's mom
Kara listens to advice about Glenn Head, which can happen after The Glenn surgery for HLHS.
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Karla & Derick: Glenn Head
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ParentSmart nurse hotline

Available 24/7, experienced pediatric nurses can help you decide if symptoms warrant a trip to the hospital.

Get the number
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Wellness Program

Developed to support families navigate the challenges of life with a cardiac illness.

Learn about it
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Mom's "get through this" checklist

Karla shares her own list of tips, tricks, and bits of wisdom from her HLHS journey.

See the list

The third surgery: the Fontan

The third and final surgery, the Fontan, marks the beginning of some stability in the lives of patients with HLHS. Karla talks about how Jaden's energy went up after they returned home, and how he was no longer a "blue baby."

Derick holds his son Jaden, who has hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

"The first thing I remember after we got home was that he ran around the park three or four times."

Derick, Jaden's dad
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Single Ventricle Clinic

This Clinic specializes in treatment following the Fontan procedure, from after surgery through adulthood.

Get the whole story
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A team approach

Having a multidisciplinary team means you see all your doctors in one appointment.

Learn more
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Outcomes

Surgery outcomes are important to know, and we're proudly transparent about having the best in the region.

See our outcomes

An optimistic nod to the future

Living with HLHS

Karla gives Kara hope for what lies ahead. Derick talks about Jaden's newfound energy, and Jaden proudly shows off his scars.

Jaden sits on his mom's lap smiling happily while they talk about life after his Fontan surgery for HLHS.
The Connection Journey: What Life Brings After a Long Series of HLHS Procedures
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Dr. Jaggers, Chief of Pediatric Heart Surgery at Children's Colorado, talks about how our multidisciplinary team of specialists have made a difference with our outcomes for HLHS surgeries.
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Dr. Jaggers: Outcomes

97.6%

Our surgical survival rate makes us one of the top pediatric heart hospitals.

"Children's was open with their outcomes. This was where we needed to be."

Karla, Jaden's mom
Dad Kelly kisses his son on the head. His son is being treated for HLHS at Children's Hospital Colorado.

"I want to be able to watch him grow up, and teach him about life."

Kelly, Jaxon's dad
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Find a doctor

Browse and connect with world-class pediatric specialists at Children's Colorado.

Start searching
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Meet more patients

We paired newly diagnosed families with others who have been through the journey.

See their stories
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Helpful resources

Discover the many tools other families have found helpful.

Find what you need

Partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Children's Hospital Colorado partners with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where many of our physicians and care providers serve as faculty.


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