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Biventricular repair is a complex procedure that can address a small right or left ventricle that isn’t large enough or strong enough to function normally. Children with these defects can be addressed in different ways. Some of these patients need a series of open heart surgeries, an initial surgery at birth to create blood flow to both the body and the lungs, and later Glenn and Fontan procedures. This is referred to as “the single ventricle pathway” and performed because the second small ventricle is not large enough to pump the needed blood to support the body’s need.
Other patients with one borderline (small) right or left ventricle make be addressed differently. If both ventricles are believed to be big enough to each work alone, surgeons will consider a complex biventricular repair initially or a biventricular conversion after the initial newborn surgery. This means the patient will have two ventricles and two separate circulations, just like a normal heart.
The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, are able to determine when a biventricular repair or biventricular conversion is appropriate for your child. When not appropriate, they will be able to discuss and offer alternative open heart surgeries most appropriate to treat your child’s congenital heart defect.
Types of biventricular repairs include:
Most children who have a biventricular repair or conversion procedure do very well. The long-term outlook for these children continues to improve. They often have more stamina, better quality of life and fewer long-term complications than children who undergo the series of operations associated with the single ventricle repairs.
Your child will need lifelong follow-up care with a cardiologist to watch for possible complications.