Program 4: FUNCTIONAL THERAPIES FOR CONGENITAL SINGLE VENTRICLE DEFECTS
Single ventricle defects are congenital malformations of the heart, resulting in some babies being born with an underdeveloped side of the heart. With only one functional pumping ventricular chamber, the child has to undergo a series of surgeries that alter the blood circulation, such that deoxygenated venous blood flows to the lungs bypassing the heart, and the viable chamber is used to pump oxygenated blood to the distal organs (FONTAN circulation). This type of surgical correction has increased survival to >70-90%, but leads to grave complications by teenage years. Our interest is two fold - (1) developing functional therapies that aid the patient whose FONTAN is failing; and (2) developing in utero approches that could instigate development of the hypoplastic chamber, leading to a better functional ventricle at birth.