OBJECTIVES: To analyse the feasibility and effectiveness in humanitarian practice of surgical management of children with single-ventricle heart condition. METHODS: Retrospective study of children with a single ventricle, managed by the association Mecenat-Chirurgie Cardiaque since 1996, with long-term follow-up after their return home. RESULTS: Of the 138 children in our cohort, 119 had one or more surgeries (180 procedures): palliative surgery alone (systemic-pulmonary anastomosis or banding), 41; partial cavo-pulmonary connection, 47; total cavo-pulmonary connection (mean age 8.5 years), 31. Operative mortality is 5.5%. After a mean follow-up of 5.6 years, 18 children (13%) were lost to follow-up. Survival at 10 years is 79% in children receiving surgery (palliative only, 72%; partial cavo-pulmonary connection, 77%; total cavo-pulmonary connection, 97%) versus 29% in children with no surgical intervention. The prognosis is better for tricuspid atresia and double-inlet left ventricle (86 and 83% survival at 10 years) than for double-outlet right ventricle or complete atrio-ventricular canal defect (64 and 68% at 5 years). CONCLUSION: The surgery of the single ventricle in humanitarian medicine allows a very satisfactory survival after one or more surgeries tending towards a total cavo-pulmonary connection as soon as possible.