Picture of Dylan's anatomy drawn by one of the cardiologists at Children's.

Complex Single Ventricle Defect:
A very simple explanation

Complex single ventricle is a type of congenital heart defect in which there is only one ventricle or pumping chamber in the heart rather than the normal two ventricles.  Surgery is necessary to sustain life because without surgery the oxygenated (red in the below diagrams) blood and deoxygenated (blue) blood mix (purple) within the single ventricle.  This does not allow for enough oxygenated blood to reach the body.  Prior to birth, the defect does not hinder the baby's development because the mother is providing the oxygen the baby needs to grow.  At birth, babies with complex single ventricle are generally of normal birth weight and length.  Most children live relatively normal lives, are of normal intelligence, and develop normally.  Despite having lower endurance levels than other children their age, children with complex single ventricle are able to go to school, play with friends, and participate in recreational activities.


A very basic diagram of blood flow through a normal heart


  A very basic diagram of blood flow through a heart with complex single ventricle