Interstage Home Monitoring After Newborn First-Stage Palliation for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: Family Education Strategies

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Abstract

Children born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at high risk for serious morbidity, growth failure, and mortality during the interstage period, which is the time from discharge home after first-stage hypoplastic left heart syndrome palliation until the second-stage surgical intervention. The single-ventricle circulatory physiology is complex, fragile, and potentially unstable. Multicenter initiatives have been successfully implemented to improve outcomes and optimize growth and survival during the interstage period. A crucial focus of care is the comprehensive family training in the use of home surveillance monitoring of oxygen saturation, enteral intake, weight, and the early recognition of “red flag” symptoms indicating potential cardiopulmonary or nutritional decompensation. Beginning with admission to the intensive care unit of the newborn with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, nurses provide critical care and education to prepare the family for interstage home care. This article presents detailed nursing guidelines for educating families on the home care of their medically fragile infant with single-ventricle circulation.

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