Glenn Procedure for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

The Glenn procedure is the second of three surgeries for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). The Glenn procedure is done after the Norwood procedure and before the Fontan procedure. It also is the second surgery for patients with complex single ventricles.

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 Glenn and Fontan procedures associated with the treatment of all single ventricle patients, including those with HLHS.

Our board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists will develop a customized treatment plan for you and your child.

What Is the Glenn Procedure?

The goals of the open-heart Glenn procedure:

  • Make blood from the upper part of the body (head, neck and arms) go directly to the lungs. This lets the blood pick up oxygen without passing through the heart.
  • Take some of the extra work away from the single ventricle. Until now, the only working ventricle in a baby with an HLHS single ventricle lesion has been pumping blood to both the lungs and the body.

To redirect blood flow from the upper body to the lungs, 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.

If present, they also remove the shunt that may have been placed during an initial 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 a single job: pumping blood to the body.

Learn More About:

Glenn Procedure Recovery

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.

Why Choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

No other congenital heart surgery program in Kentucky, Ohio or Southern Indiana is rated higher by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons than the Norton Children’s Heart Institute Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital is a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • Our board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric cardiovascular surgeons are leaders in the field as clinicians and researchers.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute successfully performs more than 17,500 procedures a year.
  • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons rated Norton Children’s Heart Institute among the best in the region after studying years of our patients’ outcomes and our ability to treat a range of pediatric heart conditions, including the most severe.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has satellite outpatient offices in Ashland, Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, London, Madisonville, Murray, Owensboro, Paducah and Shepherdsville in Kentucky; as well as Corydon, Jasper, Madison and Scottsburg in Indiana; 28 tele-echocardiography locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana; and six fetal echocardiography locations across Kentucky.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has awarded the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Hospital with subspecialty certification in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) is the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky, equipped with 17 private rooms and the newest technology available for heart care.
  • Our multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together our specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, anesthesiology, cardiac critical care and other areas to create a complete care plan tailored for your child.
A child with a single ventricle defect also needs the Glenn procedure because of these reasons.
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