Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is one of the most complex cardiac defects seen in the newborn and remains probably the most challenging to manage of all congenital heart defects. In hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped. Symptoms include:
• Grayish-blue skin color (cyanosis)
• Rapid, difficult breathing
• Poor feeding
• Cold hands and feet
• Being unusually drowsy or inactive
HOW IS HYPOPLASTIC LEFT HEART SYNDROME DIAGNOSED?
An ultrasound examination during pregnancy could help to determine whether a child would be born with this defect. A paediatrician would be able to diagnose this syndrome by a physical examination and if they are able to hear a heart murmur. An EEG to confirm the diagnosis would be advised.
HOW IS HYPOPLASTIC LEFT HEART SYNDROME TREATED?
This syndrome can be treated through a heart transplant or through surgical procedures such as Norwood procedure.
DID YOU KNOW?
It is more common in males than in females. The causes of heart defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome among most babies are unknown. About 10% of babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome also have other birth defects. If left untreated, hypoplastic left heart syndrome is fatal. Survival rates for the staged repair continue to rise as surgery techniques and care after surgery improve. Survival after the first stage is more than 75%.