Single-ventricle defects are a group of complex and rare disorders. Babies who are born with a single-ventricle defect have only one pumping chamber (ventricle) in their heart that works, instead of the usual two. The affected ventricle may be smaller than the other, underdeveloped or missing a valve. This prevents it from pumping blood effectively to either the lungs or the body.
In most cases, children with single ventricle heart defects require intensive medical intervention soon after birth. Symptoms vary depending on the severity and type of defect. They include blue or purple tint to lips, skin and nails, difficulty in breathing and feeding, lethargy (sleepiness or unresponsiveness).
Frequent appointments with the child’s cardiologist in infancy and early childhood are essential to minimize risk factors associated with single ventricle heart defects.