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OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of preterm birth on cardiac structure and function and transplant-free survival in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and associated anomalies throughout the staged palliation process. STUDY DESIGN: Data from the Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial were used to assess the impact of prematurity on echocardiographic measures at birth, Norwood, Stage II, and 14 months in 549 patients with a single functional right ventricle. Medical history was recorded once a year using medical records or telephone interviews. Cox regression models were applied to analyze transplant-free survival to age 6 years. Causal mediation analysis was performed to estimate the mediating effect of birth weight within this relationship. RESULTS: Of the 549 participants, 64 (11.7%) were born preterm. Preterm-born participants had lower indexed right ventricle end-diastolic volumes at birth but higher volumes than term-born participants by age 14 months. Preterm-born participants had an increased risk of death or heart transplantation from birth to age 6 years, with an almost linear increase in the observed risk as gestational age decreased below 37 weeks. Of the total effect of preterm birth on transplant-free survival, 27.3% (95% CI 2.5-59.0%) was mediated through birth weight. CONCLUSIONS: Preterm birth is associated with adverse right ventricle remodeling and worse transplant-free survival throughout the palliation process, in part independently of low birth weight. Further investigation into this vulnerable group may allow development of strategies that mitigate the impact of prematurity on outcomes in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Original publication




Journal article


J Pediatr

Publication Date





198 - 206.e4


Norwood procedure, Pediatric cardiology, cardiac remodeling, cardiac surgery, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, prematurity, Female, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Child, Infant, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Birth Weight, Heart Ventricles, Premature Birth, Ventricular Remodeling, Univentricular Heart, Treatment Outcome, Norwood Procedures