Can a half of a heart become whole?

Nov 19, 2012 | Suzanne Ferguson | @suzannerferguson

An article published on November 6, 2012, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology documented that cardiac surgeons, in collaboration with cardiologists, at Boston Children's Hospital have successfully "recruited" the left ventricle, (the chamber of the heart that is affected by HLHS) in 12 individuals with HLHS by using a surgical procedure referred to as Staged Left Ventricle Recruitment (SLVR.) "Children have an enormous growth and healing potential," Dr. Emani, lead author of Staged Left Ventricular Recruitment After Single-Ventricle Palliation in Patients With Borderline Left Heart Hypoplasia, explained. "We realized that rather than give up on the left ventricle and commit a child to single ventricle circulation for life, we could leverage that growth potential in a staged approach that would promote growth in the left ventricle and gradually recruit it back into operation."

Echocardiogram images of heart
Echocardiogram of Representative Patient Who Underwent Staged LV Recruitment. The LV is endocardial fibroelastosis–bound and nonapex forming (A) before stage 1 but apex forming and normal in size (B) before biventricular conversion.

As stated in the article, this approach was successful in individuals with borderline hypoplasia. Because most babies with HLHS have slit-like left ventricles and aortic and/or mitral valve atresia, this approach may not be an option in a majority of cases. If you have questions about SLVR, speak with your pediatric cardiologist or primary cardiac care provider. Read the full article at

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of delaying or preventing heart failure for individuals affected by congenital heart defects including HLHS. The specialized team is addressing the various aspects of these defects by using research and clinical strategies ranging from basic science to diagnostic imaging to regenerative therapies.

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