We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Norwood Procedure?

By Donn Saylor
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Norwood procedure is a type of heart surgery that links the single ventricle to systemic circulation. It is predominantly performed on patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, mitral atresia, and other heart conditions that produce single ventricle circulation. This style of cardiac surgery is known to be complicated and is often conducted on infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome during the first week of life.

Dr. William Norwood and his fellow surgeons first developed the Norwood procedure in the late 1970s. The technique has been perfected over the ensuing decades, but the basic components of the surgery remain the same. The Norwood procedure is one of the most commonly performed heart operations on infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome — in which the left half of the heart is underdeveloped — and statistics state the surgery holds a 75% rate of survival.

The operation entails a rebuilding of the aortic arch, the chief blood vessel in the heart that supplies blood to the rest of the body. The vessel typically needs to be widened to promote healthier blood flow, which is accomplished using tissue from the patient or animal tissue. A tube, or shunt, is implemented and links the aorta to the pulmonary artery, the blood vessel that provides blood to the lungs. Blood flow to the heart is stopped for approximately one hour during the operation.

A series of three surgeries are conducted to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome, of which the Norwood procedure is the first. The second surgery connects a limited number of veins from the rest of the body to the veins that transport blood to the lungs. In the third and final operation, known as a Fontan procedure, the remaining veins that were not connected during the second surgery are attached.

The Norwood procedure has also been successful in the treatment of mitral atresia, a heart disease in which the mitral valve of the heart becomes significantly constricted. Given the serious nature of these conditions, the only viable alternative to the Norwood procedure is a heart transplant. Both surgeries have been shown to be successful in treating issues of single ventricle circulation.

Recovery from the Norwood procedure is commonly a lengthy and unpredictable process. Most patients will stay in the hospital for three to four weeks following the operation. While the procedure can repair healthier blood flow to and from the heart, patients who undergo it must still take heart medications and receive regular monitoring of their condition.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.