Heart Institute Interstage Program

There are many types of single ventricle defects, including:

  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Double inlet left ventricle
  • Double outlet right ventricle
  • Pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum
  • Tricuspid atresia

To treat these single ventricle defects, children need a series of surgeries within the first few years of life.

Interstage is the period between your baby’s first and second surgeries. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has a dedicated team to help you and your family closely monitor your baby during this vulnerable time. Our goal is to provide comprehensive care to improve growth and development and to help your baby thrive until the next surgery.

Comprehensive Care

Once your family takes your baby home, you will be closely monitored by our team. This includes the surgeon, cardiologist, nurse care manager, dietician and social worker. Our clinic is located on the second floor, in CHLA's Heart Institute.

We will monitor symptoms, oxygenation, feeding progress and weight. This ensures easy and early communication with our team, to help detect problems before they occur.

You will have dedicated access to your team. Clinicians who are familiar with each family and baby can help troubleshoot problems, discuss any concerns and coordinate care.

What To Expect After The First Surgery

Education Before Discharge

Our team is here to help you feel comfortable taking your baby home, and give you the support and tools you need during this high-risk time.

A nurse care manager from the Interstage Program will teach you what signs to look for to prevent life-threatening events.

The nurses taking care of your baby in the hospital will teach you how to care for your baby at home, including how to give medications, taking care of your baby’s surgical incision, and how to hold your baby after surgery.

You will be given equipment and learn to monitor your baby’s oxygen level and weight at home.

Home Monitoring

Our program is designed to find and prevent problems after your baby is discharged home from the hospital. Each day, you will weigh your baby and measure his or her oxygen level with the equipment you take home. You will record these measurements in a notebook that is provided to you. You will call the Interstage Program if your baby does not reach the goals for weight gain and oxygen levels.

Before going home, you will be expected to show us you are able to care for your baby on your own. You will stay at the hospital bedside for at least 24 hours, showing your baby’s nurses that you can do all of your baby’s care without their help. Please plan to take time off of work and arrange childcare for other children so you are able to stay at the hospital during this time.

Clinical Trial Research

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) clinical trial