Heart and Blood Conditions

Double Inlet Left Ventricle Treatment

Babies with double inlet left ventricle need surgery in the first weeks of life. They get a series of surgeries to redirect blood flow through their heart.

Double inlet left ventricle is referred to as a “single-ventricle heart defect” because there is only one pumping chamber in the heart (ventricle). Single-ventricle defects are some of the most complex heart-related birth defects.

We provide comprehensive care for children with double inlet left ventricle through our Single Ventricle Program.

Double Inlet Left Ventricle Treatment Options


Babies born with double inlet left ventricle usually have 3 surgeries during the first few years of life to reconfigure the circulation of the heart:

  • The oxygen-poor blood, which returns from the body, is redirected to blood vessels that go to the lungs.
  • The oxygen-rich blood returns from the lung into the working ventricle. The working ventricle should be able to pump the oxygen-rich blood to the entire body.

The exact procedures and timing of surgery depend on your child’s condition and any other heart defects.


Your child may need medicines like these before and after surgery:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which lower blood pressure
  • Digoxin, which makes the heart beat slower and with more force
  • Anticoagulants, which help prevent or dissolve blood clots


In some cases, a heart transplant is needed. The heart transplant team at Seattle Children’s performs numerous transplants each year for children with this or other heart problems that cannot be controlled using other treatments. Read more about our Heart Transplant Program.

Follow-up Care for Double Inlet Left Ventricle

Outcomes for children with double inlet left ventricle have improved dramatically in the past several decades. However, the period between the first and second surgeries represents an increased period of vulnerability for these infants. Children will be cared for by our Single Ventricle Program, which focuses on the care and monitoring of infants with these severe heart problems.

Seattle Children’s is part of a nationwide group of children’s hospitals called the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC) dedicated to improving the outcomes and quality of life for children with heart defects. The NPC-QIC provides additional family resources, support and information.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program

To meet your child’s long-term healthcare needs, we have a special Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program to transition your child to adult care when they’re ready.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.