Programs/Services

Gastroesophageal Reflux parent education

The apnea program at Children's - Minneapolis is offering a new Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) program for parents of infants with significant GER symptoms. This program has been offered by the Children's - St. Paul infant apnea program for the past 10 years and has been well received by providers and families alike.

The GER program will be available for both inpatients and outpatients. For inpatients, select the "GE Reflux consult (Apnea Program)" order in Cerner. Outpatient referrals can be made by calling the apnea program at (612) 813-5831 or faxing an order to (612) 813-6168. Apnea nurses will schedule education directly with the family.

The GER Program provides families with the following:

  • Assistance in arranging outpatient diagnostic testing as requested by the referring physician (as appropriate)

Education for parents regarding:

  • GER diagnosis (test results, if done)
  • Rationale for treatment
  • Physiological aspects of GER
  • Special feeding/burping techniques
  • Positioning suggestions for feeding, sleeping, and wake periods
  • Appropriate use of a Danny Sling (cloth brace)
  • Infant CPR and aiding an obstructed infant

Follow-up phone calls to:

  • Assess infants' clinical progress
  • Answer questions
  • Reinforce medication use (if applicable)
  • Reinforce feeding and positioning recommendations

William Wheeler, MD, medical director for the Children's - Minneapolis apnea program, will provide medical supervision for this expanded service. 

Primary physicians will be consulted for medication as necessary and parents directed to continue routine follow-up for weight checks and dose adjustments as therapy is warranted. 

Please direct questions to Pam Stading, patient care manager, at (612) 813-6434 (x56434) or the Children's - Minneapolis apnea program at (612) 813-5831 (x55831).

Pediatric single-incision laparoscopy "virtually scarless"

SILS"When laparoscopy was first used in pediatrics, parents would marvel that their child's surgery was done using only very small incisions," said David Wahoff, MD, PhD, a surgeon with Pediatric Surgical Associates and a Children's professional staff member. "But now, with single-incision laparoscopy, there's really no visible scar. Parents just can't believe it's virtually scarless."

While single-incision laparoscopy has been conducted for more than a decade on adult patients, it only recently has been performed on pediatric patients.

Wahoff is one of only a handful of surgeons in the Twin Cities to perform single-incision laparoscopic procedures on pediatric patients.

Because single-incision laparoscopy involves only a small incision through a patient's umbilicus, the procedure is as close to a scarless procedure as there exists today.

How it works

  • The procedure uses specialized instrumentation, including a port, which facilitates the insertion of three cannulae through which instruments are passed.
  • The instruments work together to provide surgeons with 360-degree rotation and hand-like access to a patient's abdomen.
  • The port also features a valve that allows surgeons to inflate the abdomen for optimal instrument access.

Advantages over open surgery

  • greatly reduced pain and scar tissue
  • a faster recovery
  • much lower incidence of infection

Advantages over multi-point laparoscopy

  • less pain for patients
  • virtually no scarring
  • minimal recovery time

"A real paradigm shift"

The three most common pediatric procedures that single-incision laparoscopy is used for are cholecystectomies, appendectomies and intestinal resections, often in instances of Crohn's disease.

In adults, the procedure has been used to treat an ever-growing list of complex gynecologic, urologic and colorectal conditions. Wahoff believes the procedure’s use in pediatric patients will follow a similar course.

"As we move forward, I think most pediatric procedures will at least be attempted through a single site and expanded to a multi-site laparoscopy only if the situation warrants," said Wahoff, who has performed laparoscopic procedures on children for more than 12 years.

"It represents a continued movement toward minimally invasive techniques — a real paradigm shift."

Vascular Anomalies Center Update

The Vascular Anomalies Center at Children's Hospitals and Clinics has grown significantly since opening in November 2007, seeing more than 130 patients in 2010. The Vascular Anomalies Center continues to develop strong relationships with interventional radiology, plastic surgery and vascular surgery. 

The recent addition of Jason Alexander, MD (vascular surgery) to the clinic has allowed for simultaneous medical and surgical evaluations of these sometimes complex patients. This has allowed the program to improve its care of children with rare vascular malformations such as lymphangiomatosis and capillary lymphatico-venous malformations.

Report on experience with oral propranolol

The largest patient population at Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center continues to be children with hemangiomas. The recent discovery of the effectiveness of oral propranolol in the management of infantile hemangioma has revolutionized the care of children with hemangiomas. Since October 2009, the program has treated 90 children with oral propranolol. 

The Vascular Anomalies Center recently reported its experience at the annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

For more information on the Vascular Anomalies Center at Children’s, call Children’s Physician Access at (866) 755-212.

New food allergy testing program

In September 2011, Children’s hospitalist program, along with five Twin Cities-area allergists (see list below), introduced a program that will allow children with significant food allergies to be tested by Children’s Hospitalist group to determine if their ability to tolerate the allergens has increased. 

This program is a response to requests by allergists to develop a program that will allow testing by the Hospitalist group for these children who, due to risk of anaphylaxis, must be observed for long periods of time. The testing is currently being conducted in Children’s Short Stay Unit by the individual allergists.

For more information on this program, including allergists wishing to take part in the program, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , medical director of Children’s hospitalist program.

Allergists involved in the program:

Thomas Helm, MD
Allergy and Asthma Care
Maple Grove

Nancy Ott, MD
Southdale Pediatric Associates
Edina

Naveen Sikka, MD
St. Paul Allergy & Asthma
St Paul

Allan Stillerman, MD
Allergy & Asthma Specialists
Minneapolis

Michael Wexler, MD
Advancements in Allergy and Asthma
Minnetonka

Children’s and St. Cloud Hospital partner on cancer/blood disorders pediatric care

Children’s and St. Cloud Hospital partner on cancer/blood disorders pediatric care  
Children in Central Minnesota needing pediatric specialty care for cancer and blood disorders will now be able to stay closer to home through an expanded partnership between St. Cloud Hospital and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.


The new formalized cancer and blood disorders partnership will: 
•    Keep children closer to their family, doctor and home when possible, and provide a continuum of care to Children’s - Minneapolis campus when specialized care is required.
•    Give St. Cloud Hospital access to Children’s treatment guidelines, protocols and recommendations. 
•    Allow oncologists and hematologists from Children’s to be more present at St. Cloud Hospital, scheduling outpatient visits several days each month.
•    Help improve the lives of sick children and drive better outcomes through co-management and coordination of  care at the site that is most appropriate for treatment and for patients and their families.
•    Provide educational opportunities for physicians related to pediatric cancer and blood disorder specialty care. 

The partnership helps meet the growing and evolving medical needs of patients and families throughout Central Minnesota by improving access to high quality, family-centered care for kids fighting cancer and blood disorders. It formalizes a 10-year relationship between St. Cloud Hospital and Children’s and allows both organizations to builds upon the success of a collaborative care model. Already the new partnership has helped St. Cloud Hospital form a Pediatric Sedation Program this past spring, and talks are underway to expand the relationship into neurosciences within the next year.