How is hypoplastic left heart syndrome diagnosed?

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome can be detected while the baby is still in the uterus. After the baby is born, it is diagnosed based on a physical exam (listening to the heart and lungs), observation of symptoms, and the results of other tests, including the following:

  • Echocardiogram: Uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart's internal structures. This test can also be done while the baby is still in the womb.
  • Doppler ultrasound: Uses sound waves to measure blood flow; often combined with an echocardiogram to evaluate both the internal structure of the heart and blood flow across the heart's valves.
  • Chest X-ray: Shows the size and shape of the heart and lungs.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): Records the electrical changes that occur during a heartbeat. This test also reveals abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and detects heart muscle stress.

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