Single Ventricle Anomalies -- Child

Single ventricle anomalies refer to a category of rare heart conditions that can develop in the growing fetus. In a normal heart, the two ventricles work by collecting blood and pumping it to the lungs or the rest of the body. With this condition, one of the ventricles does not develop properly. The defect can be mild to severe. Other heart problems may be present, as well. Examples of single ventricle anomalies include:

  • Causes

    These anomalies are congenital defects. This means that the baby is born with the condition. The abnormality develops while the baby is forming in the womb. It is not known exactly why the heart develops this way in some babies.

  • Definition

    Single ventricle anomalies refer to a category of rare heart conditions that can develop in the growing fetus. In a normal heart, the two ventricles work by collecting blood and pumping it to the lungs or the rest of the body. With this condition, one of the ventricles does not develop properly. The defect can be mild to severe. Other heart problems may be present, as well.

    Examples of single ventricle anomalies include:

    • Tricuspid atresia—tricuspid valve does not develop
    • Pulmonary atresia—pulmonary valve does not develop
    • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome—left side of the heart does not develop properly
    • Double inlet left ventricle—large left ventricle and small right ventricle
    Heart Chambers and Valves
    heart anatomy
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  • Diagnosis

    You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Your child's bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.

    Images may be taken of your child's bodily structures. This can be done with:

    • Echocardiogram
    • Chest x-ray
    • MRI scan
    • CT scan

    Your child's heart function may be tested. This can be done with:

    • Electrocardiogram
    • Cardiac catheterization

  • Prevention

    Preventing fetal heart defects may not always be possible, but you can reduce your risk with proper prenatal care.

  • Risk Factors

    Specific risk factors for single ventricle anomalies are often unclear, but they may include:

    • Family history of congenital heart defect
    • Other heart defects
    • Certain chromosomal disorders
    • Environmental exposure to chemicals that cause birth defects

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:

    • Blue or pale grayish skin color
    • Fast breathing
    • Fast heart rate
    • Sweating
    • Poor feeding/poor weight gain


    A
    heart murmur may be detected
    during the exam.

  • Treatment

    Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Often, surgery is needed right away. Treatment options include: