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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Oct;38(4):1181-7.

A comparison of treatment strategies for hypoplastic left heart syndrome using decision analysis.

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Department of Pediatrics, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.



We sought to identify the optimal treatment strategy for hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).


Surgical treatment of HLHS involves either transplantation (Tx) or staged palliation of the native heart. Identifying the best treatment for HLHS requires integrating individual patient risk factors and center-specific data.


Decision analysis is a modeling technique used to compare six strategies: staged surgery; Tx; stage 1 surgery as an interim to Tx; and listing for transplant for one, two, or three months before performing staged surgery if a donor is unavailable. Probabilities were derived from current literature and a dataset of 231 patients with HLHS born between 1989 and 1994. The goal was to maximize first-year survival.


If a donor is available within one month, Tx is the optimal choice, given baseline probabilities; if no donor is found by the end of one month, stage 1 surgery should be performed. When survival and organ donation probabilities were varied, staged surgery was the optimal choice for centers with organ donation rates < 10% in three months and with stage 1 mortality <20%. Waiting one month on the transplant list optimized survival when the three-month organ donation rate was > or =30%. Performing stage 1 surgery before listing, or performing stage 1 surgery after an unsuccessful two- or three-month wait for transplant, were almost never optimal choices.


The best strategy for centers that treat patients with HLHS should be guided by local organ availability, stage 1 surgical mortality and patient risk factors.

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