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Rebuilding a whole heart for children born with only half of 1
Date:11/6/2012

Boston, Mass.Using a combination of surgical procedures developed over the last 11 years, surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital have established a new approach for rebuilding the heart in children born with a severe heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). This "staged left ventricle recruitment" (SLVR) strategy uses the existing standard single-ventricle treatment for HLHS and additional procedures to spur the body's capacity for healing and growth and encourage the small left ventricle in these children to grow and function.

Members of Boston Children's Departments of Cardiac Surgery and Cardiologyincluding Sitaram M. Emani, MD; Wayne Tworetzky, MD; James E. Lock, MD; and Pedro J. del Nido, MDreported their results to date with the SLVR strategy in the November 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

HLHS is a rare but severe congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle, the chamber of the heart that pumps blood out into the body, does not develop properly. The majority of children born with HLHS undergo a series of three procedures, together known as single ventricle palliation (SVP), culminating in the Fontan procedure. Surgeons use the sequence to reconstruct a child's heart so that it can function with only a single working ventricle, but only about half of patients treated in this way survive to adulthood.

"Many of the children who reach adulthood eventually require a heart transplant because their Fontan circulation doesn't work effectively or causes additional complications," according to Emani, a pediatric cardiac surgeon who specializes in cardiovascular surgery for newborns and children with complex congenital heart disease.

In 2001, del Nido, Emani and their colleagues started considering ways to help children with HLHS avoid SVP as an end goal and improve long-term outcomes by reconstructing the heart so that it has two working ventricles.

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Contact: Rob Graham
rob.graham@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Boston Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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