Pulmonary vasospasm and hypertension may occur after repair or palliation of congenital cardiac defects, and can be fatal in spite of conventional treatment. Nitric oxide has been shown to improve pulmonary hypertension unresponsive to conventional measures after a variety of repairs, but use has infrequently been reported after palliative systemic to pulmonary artery shunts. We report a case of pulmonary hypertension and life threatening desaturation after a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt that responded rapidly to inhaled nitric oxide. Clinical use, further study, and prospective analysis of prophylactic use of nitric oxide appear warranted. © 2002 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.