What is the Glenn procedure?
The Glenn procedure is a type of open-heart surgery. Babies who need this surgery usually have it between 4 and 6 months of age.
Why is the Glenn procedure performed?
The Glenn procedure is performed on children born with heart problems such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), tricuspid atresiaand double outlet right ventricle.
Depending on the heart problem, children may need the Norwood procedure before Glenn’s surgery.
What does the Glenn procedure do?
Normally, the Right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs for oxygen, and the left ventricle pumps oxygen-containing blood to the body. But in some types of heart problems, called single ventricle defectsone ventricle is too small, so the other ventricle not only pumps blood to the lungs, but also to the body.
Glenn’s procedure sends blood from the upper body directly to the lungs. This way, the single ventricle only has to pump blood to the body (and not to the lungs), so it doesn’t have to work as hard.
What happens during Glenn’s procedure?
During Glenn’s procedure, the surgeon disconnects the superior vena cava (SCV) heart and connects it to the pulmonary artery. Now the blood from the upper part of the body flows directly into the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery carries blood to the lungs.
If the baby had the Norwood procedure, the surgeon will remove the shunt that was placed at that time.
What happens after the Glenn procedure?
Babies who undergo the Glenn procedure usually spend 1 to 2 weeks in the hospital to recover. They receive 24-hour care and monitoring. They also receive medications to help the heart and improve blood flow. They will continue to take some of these medications at home.
During this time, the care team teaches parents how to care for their baby at home. Babies can usually go home when they are feeding well, growing well, and gaining weight.
Depending on the heart problem, a child may need another surgery, the Fontan procedurewhen they are between 18 and 36 months of age.
Many children thrive and do well after heart surgery. They will need to see a cardiologist regularly and have electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, laboratory tests and occasional cardiac catheterizations. TO cardiac catheterization It is a procedure that allows cardiologists to check how the heart is working and perform some types of treatments.
How can parents help?
At home with your baby, follow the care team’s instructions on:
- give any medication
- feeding your baby
- controlling your baby’s weight
- check oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter
- go for follow-up visits to the doctor
When should I call the doctor?
Call the care team right away if your baby:
- He is not eating
- is vomiting
- seems to be breathing fast or struggling to breathe
- oxygen levels drop lower than normal
- seems very irritable
- it just doesn’t seem quite right
What else do I need to know?
Caring for a child after heart surgery can be overwhelming for any family. But you are not alone. Doctors, nurses, social workers, and other members of the care team are there to help you and your child.
It may help to find a support group for parents whose children have a serious heart condition. Ask the care team for recommendations. You can also find support and more information online at: