Q:

What is the life expectancy for someone with hypoplastic left heart syndrome?

A:

Quick Answer

Without treatment, the life expectancy for someone with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or HLHS, is a few days to a few weeks. There are three surgeries performed on children with HLHS, and the survival rate of children who undergo all three surgeries is 70 to 75 percent, explains Patti Neighmond for NPR.

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Advances in heart surgery have increased the chances of a child born with HLHS living into adulthood. Doctors have been able to diagnose HLHS while the baby is still in the womb, notes Stanford Children's Health. After the baby is born, if HLHS is developed, the baby undergoes three surgeries to continue to treat the condition.

The first of the surgeries is performed shortly after the baby is born and is called the Norwood procedure. It has a success rate of 80 percent with only 10 percent of patients needing a pacemaker later on in life, according to Neighmond. Continued care is required for any patient with HLHS; patients must also limit strenuous exercise and exposure to illness. As the patient ages into an adult, he may need a heart transplant or additional procedures, explains Stanford Children's Health. Since the three surgeries are so new, there is not enough historical data to show the impact of these surgeries later in life.

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