Fetal Treatment Program of New England

Hypoplastic Left and Right Heart Syndrome

Normally, the right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs and the left side pumps blood to the rest of the body. Hypoplastic heart syndrome occurs when one side of the heart is underdeveloped and the other must work twice as hard to ensure proper blood flow. The condition is more serious when it occurs on the left side.

Diagnosed prenatally through level II ultrasound, fetal echocardiogram and amniocentesis and confirmed at birth through physical examination and computed tomography, hypoplastic heart syndrome is most often treated after birth with surgery.

Babies typically require three operations over a period of three to four years—the first of which occurs within the first two weeks of life. In rare cases we may recommend fetal intervention.