Glenn procedure

The Glenn procedure is the second of three congenital heart surgeries performed to correct hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and other single ventricle heart defects. It is usually performed about six months after birth.   

About the Glenn procedure

During the Glenn procedure, congenital heart surgeons finish rerouting the baby's blood flow from the upper body to the lungs. They do this by disconnecting the superior vena cava – the large vein that carries the oxygen-poor blood from the upper body to the heart – and attaching it to the pulmonary artery. As a result, the blood will go directly to the lungs without circulating through the heart at all. The temporary shunt placed during the Norwood procedure is no longer needed, so is removed.

The Glenn procedure requires open heart surgery and will take about three hours to complete. During that time your baby will be on a heart-lung machine to temporarily take over breathing and blood circulation. Babies usually stay in the hospital a week after surgery, initially recovering in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU). Learn more about postoperative care following surgeries for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Excellent Glenn procedure outcomes

The Glenn procedure is much less complicated than the multi-step first (Norwood) surgery, but still requires the expertise of highly experienced congenital surgeons to build successfully on the previous procedure. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin offers survival rates exceeding 96 percent – among the best in the world. Our pediatric congenital heart surgery is recognized nationally, achieving a "3-star" rating by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for the quality of our outcomes (the highest rating possible). See our overall pediatric congenital surgery outcomes.