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The Norwood procedure is the first of three surgeries required to treat single-ventricle conditions such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Because the left side of the heart can’t be fixed, the series of surgeries rebuilds other parts of the heart to redirect the blood flow.
HLHS once was considered inoperable. Advances such as the three procedures currently used to treat single-ventricle conditions give more babies the chance to live full lives.
The Norwood procedure is performed in the baby’s first or second week of life.
Cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have three goals for the open-heart Norwood procedure:
The board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute are equipped to perform the Norwood procedure — the most complicated of the three surgeries.
After the Norwood procedure, the child will go home to grow and gain strength for the second surgery, usually at age 4 to 6 months. During this time, the family will have a specially equipped iPad and other equipment to monitor vital signs and other data, which is immediately sent to the team at Norton Children’s Heart Institute at least once a day. This allows providers to react quickly when a child’s condition changes — sometimes even before the parents realize something is wrong.
Because the bottom of the pulmonary artery is used to make the new aorta, the Norwood procedure includes building a new path from the heart to the lungs. A round tube (shunt) routes blood either from a large vessel off the aorta (with a Blalock-Taussig, or BT, shunt) or directly from the right ventricle (with a Sano shunt) to the pulmonary artery.
The care team will decide which shunt is best for the baby.
The shunt is a temporary fix. It helps the baby get blood to the lungs until the next surgery, the Glenn procedure, during which the surgeons will create a more permanent solution.
Babies who have the Norwood procedure usually spend three to four weeks in the hospital to recover. They also get medicines to help the heart and improve blood flow. The physicians and staff at Norton Children’s Hospital provide around-the-clock care and monitoring.
While the baby is recovering, the care team teaches parents how to care for their baby at home.
Babies usually can go home when they are feeding well, growing well and gaining weight.
At home, the baby needs to be watched closely. If you are caring for a baby who has had this procedure, stay in close contact with the care team and keep an eye on:
Call the care team right away if the baby:
Between the Norwood procedure and the next surgery, the Glenn procedure, you’ll use the specially equipped iPad to transmit data to the Norton Children’s Heart Institute team.