The Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a research program with the goal of delaying or preventing heart failure for individuals with HLHS.

To learn more or to participate, please visit our website or contact HLHS@mayo.edu.

Follow the program on Facebook at Mayo Clinic HLHS, on Twitter @MayoClinicHLHS, and on Instagram at MayoClinicHLHS.

Mar 22, 2019

Umbilical Cord Blood Collection in a “Bomb Cyclone”

By Brianna N. Tranby, @briannatranby


In mid-March, an HLHS mom delivered her baby at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the umbilical cord blood (UCB) was collected and prepared for shipment.  An inpatient nurse from the Maternal Fetal Care Unit called for pick-up, but there was a problem.  That day, Colorado was experiencing a rare, record-setting “bomb cyclone” storm – essentially an inland hurricane.  Winds gusted to 80 mph, over 1,000 people had to be rescued from highways, and the Denver International Airport was closed for only the fourth time in history.  When even the road to the airport was closed, staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado knew this UCB shipment wouldn’t go as planned.

Hilary Hoffman, a Clinical Research Coordinator at Children’s Hospital Colorado, contacted the Mayo Clinic HLHS and ReGen Theranostics, Inc. teams to let them know about the delay, and ensured the precious sample was properly stored until the weather cleared.  Doug Padley with ReGen and Dr. Susanna Cantero with the HLHS Program reassured the team that although samples should ideally arrive at ReGen within 36 hours of birth, the UCB would still be processed whenever it arrived.  In the end, the sample was delivered to ReGen and processed less than 48 hours after birth!

This isn’t the first time that UCB collection across the HLHS Consortium has been impacted by extreme weather.  In 2017, an HLHS mom in Texas delivered her baby during Hurricane Harvey.  Although the shipment was delayed, the teams followed their procedures and the sample was successfully delivered and processed.  The Children’s Hospital Colorado and ReGen teams worked together during this most recent delay to ensure proper storage and shipment of the sample.  The HLHS Program – along with the new mom and baby – are grateful to everyone involved for their outstanding teamwork!


The Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of finding solutions for individuals affected by congenital heart defects including HLHS. The specialized team is addressing the various aspects of these defects by using research and clinical strategies ranging from basic science to diagnostic imaging to regenerative therapies. Email the program at HLHS@mayo.edu to learn more.

Exciting that the HLHS Consortium has found a way to store, ship, deliver and process samples despite extreme weather occurrences.

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