Letters

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7091.1414 (Published 10 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1414

More families now have a choice

  1. W J Brawn, Consultant cardiac surgeona,
  2. J V De Giovanni, Consultant cardiologista,
  3. S Hutchinson, Cardiac liaison sistera,
  4. B Sethia, Consultant cardiac surgeona,
  5. E D Silove, Consultant paediatric cardiologista,
  6. O Stumper, Consultant paediatric cardiologista,
  7. J G C Wright, Consultant paediatric cardiologista
  1. a Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Trust, Ladywood, Birmingham B16 8ET
  2. b Guy's and St Thomas's NHS Trust, London SE1 9RT
  3. c Paediatric Department, St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth PO3 6AD

    Editor—We support the assertion by O'Kelly and Bove in their editorial on hypoplastic left heart syndrome.1 Over the past four years our unit has performed over 100 Norwood procedures for this condition, of which 37 were in 1996. The referral pattern suggests that more families are being given the choice in the United Kingdom. We share O'Kelly and Bove's positive encouragement stance for these patients, backed by a dedicated team rather than offering terminal care. Transplantation is not an alternative practical option at present.2

    Though most patients present soon after birth, an increasing number are diagnosed antenatally. Diagnosis in fetal life gives the opportunity for choice, counselling as well as planned delivery with service providers alerted. For some patients the course after the first stage can be slow and complicated with immense pressure on the parents and the rest of the family. Family support from the institutions carrying out this procedure is essential, but other parents can …

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