Sunday, June 6, 2010

Positive Developments for HLHS Babies

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is one of the most complicated and serious congenital heart defects out there.  Treatment includes a series of surgeries, the first coming almost immediately after birth, called the Norwood procedure.  If this procedure fails, a transplant is necessary.  A new study shows hope for reducing the number of deaths and transplants needed in children born with HLHS.

The study, conducted at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, compared results between the traditional surgery - "a modified Blalock-Taussig (MBT) shunt, which carries blood from an artery branching off the aorta to the pulmonary artery" - and a new procedure - "he Sano procedure or the right ventricle-pulmonary artery (RVPA) shunt, links the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery".  The results were promising, with a 74% of infants with the RVPA shunt surviving and not needing transplant compared to only 64% of those receiving the traditional surgery.  These results are promising, although work needs to continue as the RVPA showed a higher rate of complications requiring "unintended interventions, such as needing stents or balloons to keep the shunt open."  But a 10% higher rate of survival without transplant is pretty promising.

For more information, you can read "In Infant Heart Surgery, Newer Technique Yields Better Survival in First Year of Life," at

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