Living with half a heart

Eight of every 1,000 newborns have some form of congenital heart disease. And of these, 2% born with a single ventricle. In popular parlance they are called children with half a heart. But this actually is not exactly true. ‘What we really have is a different heart, unable to perform certain functions, “explains Mauro Gil Fournier, Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Virgen del Rocio hospital in Seville. Beyond terminology, Gil Forunier emphasizes the important thing is that it has achieved a high survival rate in these patients, with an acceptable quality of life, which is hard to imagine just a few years ago. Thanks to advances in diagnostic and surgical procedures, applied proactively, patients with a univentricular heart can live today like any normal person.

The first years of life of these children are inevitably linked to the hospital. When a baby is born with these features for it begins a process of reconstruction of the heart and its cardiac area, to ensure that all functions are performed properly, regardless of congenital anomalies presenting this body. The pediatric cardiovascular surgeons, through successive surgeries, some made ​​in the first days of life of the child, they will bind veins and arteries, valves or shrink banding and fistulas that increase or decrease, as applicable, the blood flow reaches the lungs to the blood oxygenation in the body is correct.

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