In | Single Ventricle Circulation




I have been meaning to write these posts for a while. It is understandable that when the topic of Ivy's heart comes up, I still find it difficult to explain without complicated medical terms so I thought it was about time I wrote it down, plainly and simply. It took me months to understand the basics, and there are a good few of her diagnosis's that I still haven't quite grasped as Ivy's heart is incredibly complex and very unique yet her surgical path was decided from that 20 week scan.


Ivy is having a 'single ventricle circulation' put in place. 


A normal heart has 2 ventricles - 1 to pump oxygenated (red) blood around the body and 1 to pump de-oxygenated (blue) blood back to the lungs. These are seperated by a big wall called the septum.

Ivy's heart does technically have 2 ventricles and this respect we are lucky but Ivy has no septum. This means that red blood and blue blood both come into the heart and mix together and the mixed blood gets pumped to the body and back to the lungs. This means the heart has to work harder to get oxygen around the body and this is why Ivy has low oxygen levels 

It is too risky to build a septum so we have to treat Ivy's 2 ventricles as if it was just 1.

Operations are neseccary to 're-plumb' Ivy's blood circulation to use what she to maximum effect.



A normal circulation goes as follows

blood in the lungs > goes to the heart > gets pumped around the body > comes back to the heart > gets pumped back to the lungs


A single ventricle circulaion goes as follows

blood in the lungs > goes to the heart > gets pumped around the body > gets carried back to the lungs

blue blood does not go back to the heart 

this is less pressure on the heart as one of it's jobs is taken away

red blood and blue blood does not mix in the heart like before so only red blood is sent around the body increasing oxygen levels



A single ventricle circulation is created with 2 or 3 operations which you can read about here

For any more infomation please read this BHF booklet here