Health/Exercise

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: What it is and How to Avoid It

hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a rare and complex congenital heart defect (that a baby is born with) in which the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped.

The inspiring story of Little Zola was born with this defect. After long open heart surgery, this warrior is off from the breathing tube and on the road to full recovery.

In hypoplastic left heart syndrome, normal blood flow is affected, and less oxygen-rich blood is pumped to the body.

During the first few days of life, oxygen-rich blood bypasses the poorly functioning left side of the heart (through the ductus arteriosus and the foramen ovale). That means the right side of the heart pumps blood to both the lungs and the rest of the body.

But, when the Ductus arteriosus and Foramen ovale close, it becomes hard for oxygen-rich blood to get to the rest of the body, and guess what, the baby usually dies.

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: What it is and How to Avoid It
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: What it is and How to Avoid It

How to Prevent Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Women can take steps before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of having a baby born with birth defects.

These include;

  • taking a daily multivitamin with folic acid (400 micrograms)
  • avoiding smoking, and
  • not drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

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