Double Inlet Ventricle

In this group of conditions there is a large pumping chamber (ventricle) into which both atria empty their blood through either one or two valves. There is usually a second smaller pump chamber at the side of the main ventricle. The arteries commonly come one from each ventricle as in the diagram or both may arise from one of the ventricles.

If there is no additional narrowing to the flow of blood into the lungs, the child will be breathless, feed poorly and gain weight slowly. Often narrowing, or banding, of the lung artery will be required in the first instance. If there is severe obstruction of blood flow to the lungs, then the child will be blue and may require the blood supply to the lungs to be increased with a shunt operation.

If there is narrowing between the main pump chamber and body artery, either within the heart or in the aorta (coarctation), then this obstruction needs to be relieved and the vessels to the lungs protected. This is a much more complex and serious problem.

In some children, the circulation is very nicely balanced, not too breathless, nor too blue and steady progress is made. However, most need help and can be improved by these initial operations with a view to later planning a Fontan-type operation connecting the large veins to the body directly to the lung artery and leaving the main ventricle and smaller ventricle pumping blood to the body.

Long term follow-up and antibiotic prophylaxis is required.

Double Inlet Ventricle

Victoria & Tasmania