Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is a rare, congenital defect in which the left heart is critically underdeveloped. In babies born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, the left side of the heart is ineffective in pumping blood. Symptoms are:
• Critical illness during infancy
• Greyish-blue skin colour
• Rapid, difficult breathing
• Poor feeding
• Cold hands and feet
• Unusual drowsiness or sleepiness
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?
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is treated through several surgical procedures or a heart transplant. The management of the newborn with hypoplastic left heart syndrome can be divided into the initial stabilization period and the operative / post-operative period. Manipulations of medications and respiratory treatments (including possible mechanical ventilation) are performed to optimally balance the flow of blood to the body and the flow of blood to the lungs.
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%.