Catheter-based decompression of the left atrium in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and restrictive atrial septum is safe and effective

Jeffrey G. Gossett*, Albert P. Rocchini, Thomas R. Lloyd, Joseph N. Graziano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and restrictive or intact atrial septum (rAS) present with cyanosis, pulmonary edema, and are critically ill. A previous report from our institution on emergent Norwood for HLHS with rAS showed 10% survival. We hypothesized that transcatheter left atrial (LA) decompression in HLHS with rAS would safely and effectively relieve LA hypertension, improve oxygenation, and improve Norwood survival. Between 1996 and 2004, 30 patients with HLHS and rAS underwent cardiac catheterization for pre-Norwood intervention. Twenty-eight atrial septostomies were performed: 23 static balloon dilations, 4 Rashkind septostomies, and 1 intra-atrial stent. Two procedures were aborted due to perforation (n = 1) or inability to enter the LA (n = 1). Eight total patients required surgical septectomy, for a failure rate of 27%. There were no catheter-related mortalities, although two patients died within 36 hr of the procedure after surgical septectomy. Major complications occurred in three patients (10%)-atrial perforations requiring intervention. Mean atrial septal defect gradient fell from 16.7 ± 4.9 to 6.3 ± 3.4 mm Hg (P < 0.001; n = 18). Mean LA pressure dropped from 21.8 ± 5.5 to 13.1 ± 6.5 mm Hg (P < 0.001; n = 16). Mean PaO2 rose from 29.5 ± 9.1 to 36.5 ± 5.1 torr (P < 0.001; n = 23). Seventeen of 30 patients (57%) survived to discharge from Norwood. Thirteen have undergone hemi-Fontan and nine Fontan. Sixteen of 22 successful decompressions (73%) survived to discharge. Transcatheter decompression of the LA for patients with HLHS and rAS can be performed safely, reduces the transatrial gradient, and improves oxygenation. Catheter intervention improves survival compared to historical controls undergoing emergent Norwood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-624
Number of pages6
JournalCatheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Atrial septostomy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Interventional cardiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Catheter-based decompression of the left atrium in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and restrictive atrial septum is safe and effective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this