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Outcome following, and impact of, prenatal identification of the candidates for the Norwood procedure

  • Robin R Fountain-Dommer (a1), Scott M Bradley (a2), Andrew M Atz (a1), Martha R Stroud (a2), Geoffrey A Forbus (a1) and Girish S Shirali (a1)...


Objectives: Our study evaluates hospital survival following prenatal identification of candidates for the Norwood procedure, and the impact of prenatal diagnosis on survival, preoperative stability, and postoperative morbidity. Methods: We reviewed records of all patients who were identified prenatally as candidates for the Norwood procedure, and compared them to all postnatally diagnosed patients who underwent the Norwood procedure between August 1995 and May 2002. Results: Of the 98 patients studied, 45 (46%) were diagnosed prenatally. Of these, 35 underwent the Norwood procedure, 29 (83%) of who survived. Thus, 29 of 45 (64%) patients survived from prenatal diagnosis to discharge following the Norwood procedure. Of the 53 postnatally diagnosed patients who underwent the Norwood procedure, 42 (79%) survived. Prenatal diagnosis was not associated with improvement in survival, preoperative stability, or postoperative morbidity. By multivariate analysis, ascending aortic diameter equal to or greater than 2 mm (p = 0.01), and gestational age 36 weeks or greater (p = 0.01) independently predicted survival. Based on this, patients were stratified into groups at low risk, consisting of 69 patients, and at high risk, consisting of 19 patients. Prenatal diagnosis was unassociated with improved survival in either group. Results were unchanged when the analysis was restricted to patients with hypoplasia of the left heart. Conclusion: From the time of prenatal diagnosis, 64% of patients survived to discharge following the Norwood procedure. Prenatal diagnosis did not affect preoperative stability, survival or postoperative morbidity. This remained the case after stratifying patients by risk, or restricting analysis to patients with hypoplasia of the left heart. Ascending aortic diameter and gestational age independently predicted survival.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Girish Shirali, Children's Heart Center of South Carolina, 165 Ashley Avenue, PO Box 250915, Charleston SC 29425, USA. Tel: 843 792 8900; Fax 843 792 5878; E-mail:


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