Cardiac Neurodevelopment Clinic
The Heart Center at Children's Hospital & Medical Center is committed to ensuring that every child with congenital heart disease is given the best chance for the best possible life. To help our clinicians understand how our patients fare as they grow and develop in comparison to healthy children, we are involved in a joint venture with the Munroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center called the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic.
The goal of the clinic is to assess and monitor the growth and development of all children after cardiac surgery to determine if they experience any neurodevelopmental issues as a result of the care received for their cardiovascular and associated diseases. The program is directed by Howard Needelman, M.D., a specialist in developmental pediatrics and neonatology, one of a few neonatologists in the country with this expertise.
Dr. Needelman and a team of clinical psychologists, occupational and physical therapists and a cardiac surgery nurse practitioner, perform a neurodevelopmental assessment on all pediatric cardiac patients at 2 to 3 months of age; 8 to 10 months; and 20 to 24 months; using a well-established series of motor, cognitive and behavioral recognition scales. Older children, 4 to 10 years old, are assessed using a different set of tests that also evaluate visual-motor function, speech, learning and social behavior. The evaluation of older children is essential to assess how well cardiac patients are performing and integrating at home and in school.
If any deficiencies are detected, early intervention is recommended in conjunction with the Munroe-Meyer Institute, which specializes in providing comprehensive developmental support services to individuals with disabilities. At Children's, we are constantly looking for ways to improve the level of care we provide to each of our patients. The Neurodevelopmental Clinic is a unique and comprehensive program that helps us achieve that goal.