Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is when the structures on the left side of the heart are underdeveloped (hypoplastic) and too small to provide enough oxygen-rich blood for the body.
The left ventricle is unable to function effectively and other left heart structures, including the mitral valve, aortic valve and aorta, are also often underdeveloped. This heart defect is often detected while the baby is not yet born. Once born, the baby may appear fine until the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closes. At that time, no blood will reach the body and the baby will go into shock and die.
Knowing about this condition before birth is helpful because a medication called prostaglandin E is used to keep the PDA open until surgery can be performed.
Normal heart – in a healthy heart with proper blood flow, the blue droplets representing oxygen-poor blood travel to the lungs, and the red oxygen-rich droplets circulate through the body.
A heart with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)