In | The Glenn and The Fontan




Children, like Ivy, who require a Single Ventricle Circulation system (please read here) will have a set of 2 or 3 operations to put this is place


These are called the BT Shunt, The Glenn and The Fontan procedures



The BT Shunt

The BT Shunt is a key-hole surgery used as a temporary measure used at birth or in the first few weeks of life to improve oxygen levels until the Glenn can be performed. This is not always required.


The Glenn Procedure

The Glenn is an open heart surgery where the patient is put on a heart and lung bypass machine

During this op, the deoxygenated (blue) blood that is coming back from the head and upper body is re-directed to the lungs and no longer goes through the heart. This takes some pressure off the heart.

The Glenn is normally done between the ages of 3 months and 12 months depending on size of the child and the child's condition.

Ivy was only 3 months when she had her Glenn but went onto the operating table to have the BT shunt done. The decision was made early on in the surgery that at that moment performing the Glenn would be more appropriate.


The Fontan Procedure

The Fontan is also an open heart surgery where the patient is put on a heart and lung bypass machine

During this op, the deoxgenated (blue) blood that is coming back from the body is re-directed to the lungs and no longer goes through the heart. This means that there is now no de-oxgenated blood going back to the heart and it is all carried back to the lungs.

The Fontan is normally done between the ages of 2 years and 4 years but could be later depending on the size of the child and the child's condition.

After the Fontan, patients oxygen levels should be almost normal (90%+)

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It is important to understand that this set of surgeries is palliative which means it does not cure or fix the heart defect(s). It is likely that patients will need a heart transplant in the future.