We know it’s a stressful time for parents when they learn their child will be born with a congenital heart condition, and it is normal for patients to want to seek a second opinion
We know it’s a stressful time for parents when they learn their child will be born with a congenital heart condition, and it is normal for patients to want to seek a second opinion. Other providers may encourage a second opinion, and we welcome patients seeking second opinions at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.
Norton Children’s Heart Institute maintains relationships with many hospitals and referring providers across Kentucky and Southern Indiana, and we work collaboratively to make the best decision possible for each patient.
“Norton Children’s Heart Institute is very inclusive when it comes to working with all providers in the region,” said Ashley J. Rhinehart, APRN, coordinator for single-ventricle cardiac care and pediatric cardiology nurse practitioner with Norton Children’s Heart Institute. “Not every hospital system will read fetal echocardiograms or work with all obstetricians or maternal-fetal medicine providers, but in our model, they remain part of the care team for their patient, which includes regular updates and participating in care conferences.”
Refer a patient
To refer a patient to Norton Children’s Heart Institute, visit Norton EpicLink and open an order for fetal cardiology.
For families expecting babies with congenital heart defects and other heart conditions, planning the road ahead starts before delivery, and we walk families through a thorough process, including an individualized care plan, before they decide to come on board with us.
Each family will go through a “meet the team” orientation, in which a nurse navigator sets up a single appointment to meet with specialists who will be part of their baby’s care team, tour the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and review details for their personalized care plan. This is the time to answer the family’s questions, offer them hope for their child’s future and outline their treatment journey.
As part of our fetal cardiology program, we hold a care plan meeting with the family prior to the baby’s birth. Depending on their situation, expectant parents might meet with a Norton Children’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician who is part of Norton Women’s Care, a cardiothoracic surgeon, a fetal cardiologist, a NICU physician, cardiac intensive care unit specialist, a member of the behavioral and mental health team, palliative care support staff and a social worker.
If surgery is required, parents will meet with the care team and learn about expected procedures or operations, and they receive a binder with all the information they’ll need.
Our team meets for regular care conferences to monitor the baby’s progress and make adjustments to the delivery plan and post-delivery plan throughout the pregnancy. Prior to delivery, each case is reviewed by the fetal board. After delivery, a heart board meets weekly to discuss patients’ conditions and their treatment.
Patients should talk to their insurance provider ahead of getting a second opinion. Health plans can vary by patient; some insurance providers require a referral while others simply require patients to choose in-network providers.