Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: What it is & How to Avoid It

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a rare and complex congenital heart defect (that a baby is born with) in which the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped.

Inspiring story of Little Zola born with this defect. After a long open heart surgery, this warrior is off from the breathing tube & on the road to full recovery.

In hypoplastic left heart syndrome, normal blood flow is affected, & less oxygen-rich blood is pumped to the body.

During the first few days of life, oxygen-rich blood bypasses the poorly functioning left side of the heart (through the ductus arteriosus & the foramen ovale). That means the right side of the heart pumps blood to both the lungs & the rest of the body.

But, when the Ductus arteriosus & Foramen ovale close, it becomes hard for oxygen-rich blood to get to the rest of the body and guess what, the baby usually dies.

How to Prevent Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Women can take steps before & during pregnancy to reduce the risk of having a baby born with birth defects.

These include;

  • taking a daily multivitamin with folic acid (400 micrograms)
  • avoiding smoking, &
  • not drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Authors

  • Ozoemena Davidson attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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