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Health Information For Parents
Without medicines and a series of three surgeries to rebuild the heart, babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) won’t survive. The left side of the heart can’t be fixed, so the goal of the surgeries is to rebuild parts of the heart and “redirect” the way blood flows.
The last surgery in the series is the Fontan procedure. Children get this after the Glenn procedure, usually when they’re 18 to 36 months (3 years) old. Until now, blood low in oxygen from the lower part of the body has mixed with blood high in oxygen.
The Fontan procedure is a type of open-heart surgery. The goal is to:
In babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, low-oxygen blood from the lower part of the body mixes with high-oxygen blood. After the Fontan procedure, low-oxygen blood and high-oxygen blood no longer mix. This lets the heart deliver only high-oxygen blood to the body.
The Fontan procedure involves redirecting blood flow from the lower body to the lungs. In the Fontan procedure:
Blood from the lower body now goes to the pulmonary artery, and then to the lungs, without having to go to the heart. The right ventricle remains the main pump and now just sends blood coming back from the lungs with oxygen out to the body.
After the Fontan procedure, blood high in oxygen and blood low in oxygen are separated. That means more oxygen can get to the body.
Children who have the Fontan procedure usually spend 1 to 2 weeks in the hospital to recover. They get-around-the-clock care and monitoring. They also get medicines to help the heart and improve blood flow.
Many children thrive and do well after heart surgery. They’ll need to get lab tests often and occasional catheterizations.
To help keep your child as healthy as possible:
Sometimes, the three heart surgeries may not totally fix all heart problems or the right ventricle can tire out over time. In these cases, a child may need a heart transplant.
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a birth defect of a babyâs heart. The left side of the heart doesnât grow as it should, making it smaller and weaker than normal.
The Norwood procedure is open-heart surgery done as the first of three surgeries to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).
The Glenn procedure is open-heart surgery done as the second of three surgeries to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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