The heart is made up of 4 chambers: two filling chambers (medical term: right and left atria) and two pumping chambers (medical term: right and left ventricles). In the normal heart, the left ventricle pumps blood to the body and the right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs.
The left heart contains oxygen-rich blood for the body. The right heart contains oxygen-poor blood, which is pumped through the lungs to be filled with oxygen.
Some patients are born with hearts that have only one main pumping chamber. For many people born with this, the best option is to have surgery that allows the blue (low oxygen) blood to bypass the heart and flow directly to the lungs. Cardiologists call this the ‘Fontan operation’.
This surgery is a good short-term solution. But it doesn’t make the circulation work as well as someone born with two pumping chambers. Pumping the blood around the body is a lot of work for only one ventricle. Over time the pump can become weak.
It is very important to visit your cardiologist regularly at an Adult CHD centre.
The surgery to create a Fontan heart is one of the most common heart surgeries performed in children with complicated CHD. It’s named after the surgeon who invented it, Dr Francis Fontan. We see lots of patients with Fontan hearts. Here are some of the conditions that are treated with surgery to create a Fontan heart:
If you’re not sure what was wrong with your heart when you were born, that’s OK. Lots of our patients need to have things explained by different people, in different ways, before it sticks!
Patients with a Fontan heart can have different symptoms.
You should tell your doctor about the following symptoms:
Because Fontan patients can have new heart problems as they get older, they need to be followed closely in an Adult CHD centre.
Treatment can include:
This website is designed specifically for young people with congenital heart disease. The goal is to provide information to help people who are getting ready to move (or have recently moved) to adult heart care. We use the term ‘transition’ to describe this process. Family, friends and health care providers may also find this website helpful.
Please be advised this site does not provide medical advice. All of the content on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have or suspect you have a health problem, please consult your family physician. If you have or suspect you are experiencing a health emergency, please promptly visit a Hospital Emergency Department in your area. Reliance on any information provided on or provided in relation to the site is solely at your own risk. Contributors to this website are not responsible, nor liable, for any claim, loss or damage arising from the use of the information contained within this site.
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Anyone can visit this website and most users will create their own User IDs and passwords. However, there are also Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) and pediatric cardiology programs that have officially joined the iHeartChange team and work together to keep this website going. (You can find a list of the ACHD programs in the ‘Welcome to Adult Care’ section of the website). Some of these programs might choose to assign User IDs so that they can track of and how patients from their own programs visit the website. They might even want to track this for research. If you have been assigned a User ID from a program, that program might ask us to give them information about your answers to the ‘Getting to Know You’ survey, how many times you log into the website and which web pages you visit.
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If you visit them all, you can earn a transition diploma!
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HELPING YOU MAKE THE MOVE TO ADULT CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE CARE
Thanks for checking out our website!
This website is designed mainly for young people with congenital heart disease (CHD). The aim is to help people feel more ready to “transition” from pediatric to adult care. And we know that family, friends and health care providers might also want to check it out!
Since this is your first visit, please read our disclaimer!