Norwood Procedure

Also known as: Norwood palliation of hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

What is Norwood procedure?

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a heart defect that’s characterized by an undeveloped left ventricle that causes a number of problems. Norwood procedure is a cutting-edge three-step surgery that corrects the problem with a good success rate.

What happens during the procedure?

  • The first surgery involves cutting off the left ventricle and modifying the right ventricle to be the main pump of blood to the lungs and body. The pulmonary arteries and aorta are also connected to one another to supply blood to the lungs.
  • The second surgery removes the shunt and connects the right pulmonary artery to the superior vena cava to deliver blood to the lungs.
  • Stage 3 of the procedure involves directing blood from the inferior vena cava to the pulmonary artery, and then to the lungs.

Is any special preparation needed?

Norwood procedure is a major medical procedure. It is done under general anesthesia. Food, drink and certain medications need to be avoided for a time before the procedure.

What are the risk factors?

There are a number of risks, including bleeding, high blood pressure and the possibility that the surgery won’t work. Nevertheless, it has a good success rate, and the benefits of the procedure far outweigh the risks.

Norwood procedure at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital

Norwood procedure is performed by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s team of top-notch pediatric heart surgeons using the latest cutting edge techniques.


Reviewed by: Jun Sasaki, MD

This page was last updated on: April 30, 2021 04:44 PM

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Patient Success Stories

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Grace was transferred to Nicklaus Children’s for what referring doctors believed were complications associated with neonatal sepsis. Soon after, the care team learned Grace had an enlarged failing heart due to hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a complex congenital heart defect that essentially means the baby was born with half a heart. 

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Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is one of the most complex cardiac defects seen in newborns. Learn more