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Pediatr Cardiol. 2007 Mar-Apr;28(2):122-5. Epub 2007 Feb 16.

The modified Blalock-Taussig shunt versus the right ventricle-to-pulmonary artery conduit for the Norwood procedure.

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Division of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


The initial Norwood procedure remains the highest risk operation for the staged repair of univentricular congenital malformations with associated systemic outflow obstruction. The modified Blalock-Taussig shunt (MBTS) has been implicated as a major cause of not only the operative mortality, but also associated morbidity and interstage attrition. The etiology of these events has often been attributed to the diastolic runoff and "coronary steal" associated with the MBTS, in addition to the delicate balance between systemic and pulmonary blood flow that characterizes all systemic-to-pulmonary artery shunts. Recently, there has been renewed interest in the right ventricle-to-pulmonary artery conduit as a source of pulmonary blood flow for the Norwood procedure as a potential method for minimizing the negative aspects of the MBTS. The current literature is contradictory, retrospective, and predominantly historically controlled. The Trial of Right Ventricular vs Modified Blalock-Taussig Shunt in Infants with Single Ventricle Defect Undergoing Staged Reconstruction, a randomized controlled clinical trial comparing the two techniques, is ongoing and may provide answers to this controversy.

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