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The Glenn procedure is the second of three surgeries for children with single-ventricle defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). The Glenn procedure is done after the Norwood procedure and before the Fontan procedure.
The cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, typically perform the operation when the patient is between 4 and 6 months old.
As the leading providers of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana, the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute are trained and experienced in the Norwood, Glenn and Fontan procedures associated with the treatment of all single-ventricle conditions, including HLHS.
Our board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists will develop a customized treatment plan for you and your child and provide close monitoring between the Norwood and Glenn procedures.
The child will be sent home with a specially equipped iPad and equipment to measure vital signs and other data. Heart rate, oxygen levels and weight are entered at least once a day and sent to the team at Norton Children’s Heart Institute. Sometimes the data can allow for quick action on an issue that wasn’t readily apparent at home.
The goals of the open-heart Glenn procedure:
During the Glenn procedure, Norton Children’s Heart Institute cardiothoracic surgeons disconnect the superior vena cava (the vein that brings blood back from the upper part of the body) from the heart and reattach it to the pulmonary artery. These new connections redirect blood flow from the upper body to the lungs.
If present, they also remove the shunt that may have been placed during a previous operation, such as the Norwood procedure. A shunt is no longer needed because blood from the upper body will now go to the pulmonary artery and on to the lungs. Also, the single ventricle now has one job: pumping blood to the body.
Babies who have the Glenn procedure usually spend one to two weeks in the hospital to recover. They also get medicines to help the heart and improve blood flow. At Norton Children’s Hospital, they will receive around-the-clock care and monitoring.
Growing into adulthood with this unique single-ventricle circulatory system can come with complications and risks affecting the liver, kidneys, heart or lungs.
The Norton Children’s Heart Institute Fontan Clinic provides regular follow-up and monitoring to help spot any emerging issue early and treat it sooner, when more options may be available.
The clinic works in conjunction with the Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s adult congenital heart disease program to provide sophisticated care to patients born with heart conditions.