Understanding your heart condition

There are five main single ventricle, half a working heart, conditions. Although the conditions are all slightly different they have a lot that is the same.  They have just one heart pump (ventricle) not two and all of them need operations, and often medications, to help the heart work as well as possible and for blood to travel round your body.

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)

Lots of our young members have this condition. All the differences in this heart are on the left side, your left side. This heart problem means that without surgery the heart can’t pump oxygen filled blood around the body. In the comic it means that George can’t get the oxygen he carries through to every part of the body. Normally three operations help to reroute the blood and make the circulation of blood work better. If you want to understand a little more, below is a film we have made all about HLHS.

Tricuspid Atresia

Young LHM members with this condition have problems on the right side of their hearts. Having TA means that blood can’t get to the lungs to pick up oxygen. In the comic George can’t pick up the oxygen he needs to take around the body. Operations help to reroute the blood to the lungs and make the circulation work better. Have a look at the Tricuspid heart and the normal heart to see the difference. Below you will see a video we have made all about Tricuspid Atresia. 

Pulmonary Atresia

Young members with PA have problems on the right side of their hearts. This heart condition means that George and his red blood cell friends have problems getting to the lungs to pick up oxygen to take around the body. Young people with PA have operations and medication to help get oxygen around the body. Below you can find a video that we made to tell you more about Pulmonary Atresia.

Double Inlet Left Ventricle

As you can see from the picture in the comic, this heart problem is in the middle of the heart. Blood goes in all directions but is not very organised and does not flow to the lungs very well. If you have this condition you will need to have a number of operations to help blood flow  to the lungs so that George and his friends can pick up the oxygen they need to help you make energy.

Double Outlet Right Ventricle

 If you have DORV you have one big ventricle instead of two and blood travels from the heart in all directions. Everyone with this heart problem has a slightly different shape to their heart but doctors will do operations to make sure that blood can get to the lungs and that blood, filled with oxygen, can then travel to the body to make energy. George will be there to help carry the oxygen.

Other Single Ventricle
Heart conditions

Not everyone has exactly the same heart problem and some of our young members do not have one of these conditions. They may have a very complicated Atrial Ventricular Septal Defect, or a condition called Epstein’s anomaly. Whatever heart condition you have the treatment will be the same as for all the conditions above. The doctors will work to get blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen and then they will make sure that that oxygen can travel to your body.