Fifteen-minute consultation: Assessing the child with a Blalock-Taussig shunt who is unwell in a district general hospital

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Univentricular heart disease accounts for ∽1.25% of all congenital heart disease. Such cases remain among the most challenging to manage, typically requiring a three-staged palliation. The first stage involves placement of a systemic to pulmonary shunt. While a variety of shunt types, including ductal stenting, can be used to manage univentricular conditions, the archetype remains the Blalock-Taussig (BT) shunt. While waiting future palliative intervention at home, intercurrent illness may necessitate presentation to a district general hospital where subspecialist advice and assessment is remote. This review aims to present the general paediatrician with a straightforward BT shunt physiology overview highlighting unique complications which may complicate intercurrent illness.

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