Slide show: Common types of congenital heart defects
Image of heart with hypoplastic left heart syndrome
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In this condition found in babies, the left side of the heart is underdeveloped (hypoplastic), including the aorta, aortic valve, left ventricle and mitral valve. As a result, the baby's body doesn't receive enough oxygen. In the first few days after a baby is born, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent), allowing normal blood flow. But when the ductus arteriosus naturally closes, signs and symptoms begin, including a bluish cast to the skin from lack of oxygen (cyanosis), difficulty breathing and being unable to feed.

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is sometimes found during ultrasound exams before a baby is born. Treatment options for this life-threatening condition are a heart transplant or a multistage surgical procedure done during the first few years of life.

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