About This Program

The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental (Neurological Developmental) Outcomes Program is a specialty program within the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, a clinical partnership between Dell Children’s Medical Center and UT Health Austin.

The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Program tracks, monitors, and manages the development of children with congenital heart disease who undergo surgical intervention as infants. Children with complex congenital heart disease are at higher risk for neurodevelopmental disabilities than other children. This program detects and treats developmental delays with the goal of optimizing each child’s development. Developmental delays may include mild cognitive impairment, oral-motor discoordination, expressive speech and language differences, impaired visual-spatial and visual-motor skills, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, and more. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Program provides expert evaluation and diagnosis as well as integration of caregiver assessment in which families record and share their own observations related to their child’s development. This allows for early intervention and care coordination between caregivers and experts across specialties to ensure you are your family are provided with the support you need.

The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Program care team is comprised of nationally recognized and highly specialized physicians across different disciplines housed in a single cardiac care unit at Dell Children’s Medical Center. With access to expert staff and advanced technology, we provide a wide range of services, from evaluation, testing, and diagnosis to medical management, home monitoring, rehabilitation, heart surgery, and more, to give patients and their families the best quality of life.

Treatment Approach

Children with complex congenital heart disease seem to have a slightly higher probability of developmental delays likely due to a combination of factors. Babies born with congenital heart disease have brains that develop and mature at slower rates in utero and some babies with congenital heart disease have lower oxygen levels throughout their body, both of which may play a role in developmental delays. Children who have developmental delays identified early on, and therefore get early intervention in the form of therapy, do better than children who do not have their delays identified until they are school-aged. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Program care team utilizes advanced imaging, neurological and neuropsychological testing, and the latest evidenced-based therapies to monitor and treat any developmental delays your child may experience. Our team works with you and your family to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.

The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Program care team treats patients both in the inpatient and outpatient setting. During inpatient care, the entire Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcomes care team rounds together and meets routinely to discuss how each patient is doing, what is going well, what needs additional attention, and overall goals for the upcoming week. If a patient meets the program’s risk criteria, upon discharge, the patient continues outpatient care with a developmental neurologist and neuropsychologist for ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Patients are cared for by a dedicated multidisciplinary care team, meaning your child will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric neurologists have extensive experience developing strategies to optimize long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes and work alongside a team of pediatric cardiac experts, including psychologists, nurses, advanced practice providers, speech therapists, social workers, child life specialists, dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, and more, providing unparalleled care for patients every step of the way.

Appointment Information

For more information about the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Program at Dell Children’s, please call 1-855-324-0091.