ANN ARBOR, Mich. A trial on shunts used to direct blood flow to the lungs, led by researchers at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, will lead to better outcomes for kids worldwide born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the most common severe heart birth defect.
Under the leadership of the University of Michigan, the first multi-institutional randomized prospective trial ever conducted in congenital heart surgery was just completed by the Pediatric Heart Network with funding from the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute.
Kids with the hypoplastic left heart syndrome have hearts that don't develop properly in the womb. Because the left side of the heart fails to develop, they are often referred to as being born with half a heart.
This groundbreaking study is published in the May 27, 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Richard G. Ohye, M.D., Division Head of the Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, is the study chair and lead author.
"Congenital heart disease is much more common than people realize," says Ohye. "Heart abnormalities are the most common birth defect, and it occurs in almost one out of every 100 live births."
Twenty years ago, doctors were unable to save these children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Today, because of efforts by the University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center and other centers like it around the world, most of these infants can be saved through a series of three operations that can be compared to re-plumbing their heart.
Research into this congenital defect has been rare because most centers do not see enough patients with any one diagnosis to be able to effectively study it. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome occurs in about 1,000 kids every year in the United States and it accounts for roughly about 8 percent of all different congenital heart defects.
|Contact: Margarita Bauza|
University of Michigan Health System