Single Ventricle Defects | Treatments

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Contact the Complex Biventricular Repair Program

What type of surgery is used for single ventricle defects?

Most children with single ventricle defects need surgery. The specific type of surgery or other treatments your child will need depends on the type of defect he or she has.

Before surgery — and possibly afterwards — your child may be placed on a life support system called ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), a machine that temporarily takes over the functions of child's heart and lungs.

Your child may also get IV (intravenous) medications to help the heart and lungs work more efficiently.

What is the long-term outlook for children with single ventricle defects?

Surgical techniques for single ventricle defects are continually being refined, and the long-term outlook for children born with this condition is constantly improving.

Still, patients with single ventricle defects will need lifelong monitoring and medication, since they'll always be at some risk for other problems, such as arrhythmias, infections, heart failure or stroke.

Your cardiologist will help you create a long-term care program for your child as he or she grows and matures into adulthood. Most people born with a heart defect have an ongoing relationship with a cardiologist. Your cardiologist will work with you and your child to prevent and treat complications and to advise on daily-life issues such as exercise and nutrition.

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