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HLHS Treatment

Heart Transplant

Heart transplantation is one option for treatment of children with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and remains an option even after staged surgical repair.

Heart transplantation is one option for treatment of children with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and remains an option even after staged surgical repair.

Heart transplantation offers advantages and disadvantages in the treatment of children with HLHS. Unlike children who undergo the three stage reconstructive approach, children who undergo transplant need one operation during early childhood that results in a "normal heart", that is, a heart with four chambers that pumps in the normal way. The risks associated with the operation itself are quite low at most major centres.

Disadvantages of heart transplantation include the lack of availability of donated hearts of a size suitable for an infant. Due to the numbers of children awaiting heart transplantation and the lack of availability, some children die awaiting transplantation. Other concerns include side effects from the lifelong need for anti-rejection medications and early onset coronary artery disease. Also, low-grade rejection is almost inevitable.

Even so, the long term outlook for paediatric heart transplant patients is improving. According to a study released at the 50th Annual Meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Infants and children who undergo heart transplantation are experiencing good outcomes after surgery and may expect to live beyond 15 years post-surgery with reasonable cardiac function and quality of life.

More Information

Heart Transplants in Children
Synopsis: Description of heart transplantation; Risks and complications; Preparing Your Child; Potential Heart Transplant Candidate; Success.

Heart transplant
Synopsis: The Transplant Process; Post-Transplant

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