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Dr. Muthu Jothi
Dr. Muthu Jothi

Sr. Consultant - Paediatric Cardio Thoracic And Vascular Surgery

CONSULTS AT

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital

EXPEREIENCE :
26 years
SURGERIES :
15000+

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Treatment Price on request

Dr. Muthu Jothi
Dr. Muthu Jothi

Sr. Consultant - Paediatric Cardio Thoracic And Vascular Surgery

CONSULTS AT

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital

EXPEREIENCE :
26 years
SURGERIES :
15000+
Dr. Krishna Iyer
Dr. Krishna Iyer

Executive Director- Pediatric And Congenital Heart Surgery).

CONSULTS AT

Fortis Escorts Heart Institute

EXPEREIENCE :
30 years
SURGERIES :
NA

Treatment Starting at $4,000

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Treatment Starting at $4,000

Dr. Krishna Iyer
Dr. Krishna Iyer

Executive Director- Pediatric And Congenital Heart Surgery).

CONSULTS AT

Fortis Escorts Heart Institute

EXPEREIENCE :
30 years
SURGERIES :
NA
Dr Gaurav Kumar
Dr Gaurav Kumar

Director - Pediatric Surgery

CONSULTS AT

Fortis Escorts Heart Institute

EXPEREIENCE :
20 years
SURGERIES :
5000+

Treatment Starting at $4,000

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Treatment Starting at $4,000

Dr Gaurav Kumar
Dr Gaurav Kumar

Director - Pediatric Surgery

CONSULTS AT

Fortis Escorts Heart Institute

EXPEREIENCE :
20 years
SURGERIES :
5000+
Dr Rajesh Sharma
Dr Rajesh Sharma

Director - Paediatric Cardiac Surgery

CONSULTS AT

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital

EXPEREIENCE :
25 years
SURGERIES :
10000+

Treatment Price on request

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Treatment Price on request

Dr Rajesh Sharma
Dr Rajesh Sharma

Director - Paediatric Cardiac Surgery

CONSULTS AT

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital

EXPEREIENCE :
25 years
SURGERIES :
10000+
Dr Murtaza Chishti
Dr Murtaza Chishti

Chief - Ctvs

CONSULTS AT

Artemis Hospital

EXPEREIENCE :
34 years
SURGERIES :
NA

Treatment Starting at $500

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Treatment Starting at $500

Dr Murtaza Chishti
Dr Murtaza Chishti

Chief - Ctvs

CONSULTS AT

Artemis Hospital

EXPEREIENCE :
34 years
SURGERIES :
NA
Dr. Vijit K. Cherian
Dr. Vijit K. Cherian

Director - Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery

CONSULTS AT

Miot Hospital Chennai

EXPEREIENCE :
20 years
SURGERIES :
NA

Treatment Starting at $2,300

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Treatment Starting at $2,300

Dr. Vijit K. Cherian
Dr. Vijit K. Cherian

Director - Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery

CONSULTS AT

Miot Hospital Chennai

EXPEREIENCE :
20 years
SURGERIES :
NA

Introduction:

Modern medical advancements have led to remarkable breakthroughs in pediatric cardiac surgery, offering hope and renewed life to thousands of infants born with congenital heart defects. Among these life-saving procedures, the Blalock-Taussig (BT) shunt stands as a pioneering technique that has significantly improved the outcomes of infants with certain heart conditions. In this blog, we will explore what a BT Shunt is, the conditions it addresses, the surgical procedure involved, and the impact it has on the lives of young patients and their families.

What is a BT Shunt?

The Blalock-Taussig shunt, commonly referred to as the BT shunt, is a surgical procedure designed to improve blood flow to the lungs in infants born with certain congenital heart defects. It is named after the remarkable surgeons, Dr. Alfred Blalock and Dr. Helen Taussig, who pioneered this technique in the early 1940s.

The BT shunt involves creating a bypass between the aorta (the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body) and the pulmonary artery (the vessel responsible for carrying oxygen-depleted blood from the heart to the lungs). By connecting these two major blood vessels, the shunt allows a controlled flow of blood to the lungs, bypassing any obstruction or inadequacy in the pulmonary circulation.

Conditions Treated with a BT Shunt:

The BT shunt is primarily used to treat two common congenital heart defects in infants:

  • Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF): This is a complex heart defect characterized by four distinct abnormalities, including a ventricular septal defect (VSD), pulmonary stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonary valve and artery), overriding aorta (the aorta is positioned over both ventricles), and right ventricular hypertrophy (thickening of the right ventricular muscle). The BT shunt helps increase blood flow to the lungs, reducing cyanosis (bluish discoloration) and improving oxygenation.
  • Pulmonary Atresia: In this condition, the pulmonary valve does not develop properly, leading to an obstruction between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery. The BT shunt allows blood to flow from the aorta to the pulmonary artery, ensuring adequate oxygenation.

The Surgical Procedure:

The BT shunt is typically performed in the first few months of an infant's life. The procedure can be carried out in two main ways:

  • Classic BT Shunt: In this traditional approach, the surgeon creates a small incision on the side of the chest. They then access the subclavian artery (a branch of the aorta) and connect it to the pulmonary artery using a synthetic tube, forming the shunt. This redirects blood from the aorta to the pulmonary artery, alleviating the cyanosis and enhancing oxygen saturation.
  • Modified BT Shunt: An alternative to the classic approach, the modified BT shunt involves using the carotid artery instead of the subclavian artery for creating the shunt. This variation is preferred in some cases, especially if the subclavian artery has other anomalies or is not easily accessible.

Post-Surgery and Long-term Outlook:

Following the BT shunt procedure, infants are carefully monitored in the intensive care unit. The aim is to ensure stable blood flow and oxygenation. Most patients will require further surgical interventions as they grow, like corrective surgery to address the underlying heart defect or a total repair of the heart.

Advancements in pediatric cardiac surgery have significantly improved the long-term outcomes for infants with BT shunts. Many children go on to lead fulfilling lives with relatively normal heart function and the ability to participate in regular activities.

Conclusion:

The BT shunt is a groundbreaking surgical intervention that has transformed the outlook for infants born with certain congenital heart defects. Thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Alfred Blalock and Dr. Helen Taussig, this procedure has saved countless lives and provided hope to families facing challenging circumstances. As medical science continues to evolve, we can look forward to even more remarkable developments in pediatric cardiac surgery, enhancing the quality of life for young patients with congenital heart conditions.

How It Works

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FAQs

BT shunt is a surgical procedure that creates a bypass between the aorta and the pulmonary artery, allowing blood to flow directly from the aorta to the lungs. It is necessary for infants born with congenital heart defects like Tetralogy of Fallot or Pulmonary Atresia, where there is an obstruction or inadequacy in the pulmonary circulation, leading to reduced oxygenation.
The BT shunt surgery involves creating a small incision on the side of the chest. The surgeon then connects either the subclavian artery or the carotid artery to the pulmonary artery using a synthetic tube, forming the shunt. This reroutes blood from the aorta to the lungs, improving oxygen levels.
The BT shunt surgery is usually performed within the first few months of an infant's life, shortly after birth, depending on the severity of the heart defect and the infant's overall health.
Like any surgical procedure, the BT shunt surgery carries some risks, including bleeding, infection, blood clots, or complications related to anesthesia. Additionally, there may be long-term issues related to the shunt, such as shunt narrowing or blockage, which may require further interventions.
nfants who undergo a BT shunt procedure require intensive post-operative care in the hospital's pediatric cardiac unit. They will be closely monitored to ensure stable blood flow and oxygen levels. The length of hospital stay and recovery period can vary based on the individual's condition and response to treatment.
BT shunt is usually a temporary solution. As the child grows, further surgical interventions, such as corrective procedures or complete heart repairs, may be required to address the underlying heart defect and improve overall heart function. The BT shunt may be eventually removed or replaced as part of the child's ongoing cardiac care.
No, the BT shunt is not a complete cure for the underlying heart defect. It is a palliative procedure that improves blood flow and oxygenation. Many patients will require additional corrective surgeries or total repair of the heart as they grow.

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