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What is double inlet left ventricle?

Double inlet left ventricle is a rare birth defect in which the tricuspid valve and the mitral valve both lead into the left ventricle. These valves act as doors, letting blood flow from the atria to the ventricle.

Normally, the tricuspid valve leads into the right ventricle, and the mitral valve leads into the left ventricle. A wall called the septum separates the two ventricles.

With this defect, both valves let blood flow into the left ventricle, and only the left ventricle works. Because the right ventricle is not being used, it is small and not well developed.

This is also called a single-ventricle heart defect because children with this defect have only one pumping chamber in their heart that works. Single-ventricle defects are some of the most complex heart birth defects.

Double Inlet Left Ventricle in Children

This is a congenital defect. Doctors do not know why it happens. They think it occurs early in the pregnancy, when the baby’s heart is forming.

About five in every 100,000 babies have double inlet left ventricle.

Children with this defect may have other heart problems, too, like transposition of the great arteries, coarctation of the aorta, pulmonary atresia or pulmonary stenosis.

Double Inlet Left Ventricle at Seattle Children’s

Our heart team has treated many children with double inlet left ventricle. We have extensive experience with the surgery these patients require. We also have a pediatric cardiac anesthesia team and a cardiac intensive care unit to help care for children who undergo heart surgery.

When you come to Children's, a team of people will take care of your child. Along with your child's cardiologist, you are connected with neonatologists, pulmonologists (lung doctors), nurses, child life specialists, social workers and others, if their expertise is needed. We work together to meet all of your child's health needs and help your family through this experience.

Since 1907, Children's has been treating children only. Our team members are trained in their fields and also in meeting the unique needs of children. For example, the doctors who give your child anesthesia are board certified in pediatric anesthesiology. This means they have extra years of training in how to take care of kids. Our child life specialists know how to help children understand their illnesses and treatments in ways that make sense for their age. Our expertise in pediatrics truly makes a difference for our patients and families.

The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program shared by Children’s and the University of Washington can help with care throughout your child’s life.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

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Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Understanding the Power and Influence of Role Models
  • Legal Marijuana Means Greater Poisoning Risks for Children
  • Why Choose Pediatric Emergency Care?

Download Summer 2014 (PDF)