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Norwood Procedure

Treatments & Procedures

This procedure is the first of three surgeries — followed by the Glenn shunt and Fontan procedure — that Phoenix Children's Hospital uses to treat a severe form of congenital heart disease called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome occurs in babies born with a functioning right ventricle and a small, underdeveloped, nonfunctioning left ventricle.

What happens during a Norwood procedure?

This procedure is usually performed within the first two weeks of life, and is one of the highest risk procedures in congenital heart surgery.

A physician implants a shunt, or small tube, to provide a connection for blood to flow from the heart to the blood vessels in the lungs, or pulmonary arteries. This is done so that blood can pick up oxygen and release carbon dioxide.

The goal of the operation is to make the right ventricle the main pumping chamber for blood flow to the body.

During the procedure, the aorta is made larger to increase blood flow to the body. The outflow from the right ventricle (pulmonary artery) and outflow from the left ventricle (aorta) are connected side-by-side to allow all blood from either the right or left ventricles to reach the body.

A connection is also made to enable the blood traveling through the aorta toward the body to "shunt" through this connection and flow into the pulmonary artery to receive oxygen.

This connection allows blood to flow to the lungs and may be accomplished with either a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt or a modified Sano procedure.

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