Glenn Procedure for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

The Glenn procedure is the second of the three surgeries for patients with 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 typically perform the operation when the patient is between 4 and 6 months old. It also is the second surgery for patients with complex single ventricles.

As the leading providers of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana, the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, 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.

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 Norton Children’s Heart Institute?

Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, is a comprehensive pediatric heart surgery, heart failure and heart transplant program serving Kentucky, Southern Indiana and beyond.

The goal of the full-service Norton Children’s Heart Institute is to provide care for the child and the whole family. Our specialists are prepared to repair even the most complex congenital and acquired heart conditions.

Our heart team includes:

  • Pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons
  • Pediatric transplant surgeons
  • Pediatric cardiologists
    • Fetal cardiologists
    • Adult congenital heart cardiologists
    • Heart failure/heart transplant cardiologists
    • Pediatric electrophysiologists
    • Pediatric cardiac catheterization cardiologists
  • Pediatric cardiovascular anesthesiologists
  • Pediatric intensive care physicians
  • Cardiac critical care nurses
  • Critical care pharmacists
  • Family support team
  • Child life specialists
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Social workers
A child with a single ventricle defect also needs the Glenn procedure because of these reasons.
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Norton Children’s Heart Institute

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