Background: Late failure of the systemic right ventricle after atrial baffle procedures in patients with transposition of the great arteries poses significant management problems. We reviewed our experience with staged conversion to arterial switch operation (ASO) in these patients.
Methods: Between 1984 and 1999, 11 patients underwent pulmonary artery band (PAB) to prepare the left ventricle for ASO conversion. One additional patient had subpulmonic stenosis and was naturally prepared. Mean age at the initial PAB was 12.2+/-7 years (range, 1.9 to 23 years). Four patients underwent reoperation to tighten the PAB before ASO. Mean interval from PAB to ASO was 1.3+/-0.9 years.
Results: There was no mortality from PAB. Six patients had ASO conversion and 2 died. Recent surgical modifications at the time of ASO were used to prevent neoaortic valve insufficiency and to cryoablate atrial reentry tachycardia. Four patients developed biventricular failure after PAB and had orthotopic cardiac transplantation (OCT) 14+/-10 months after PAB. The other 2 patients are still with PAB: 1 is awaiting ASO conversion and the other has insufficient left ventricular hypertrophy necessary for ASO conversion despite two preparatory PABs.
Conclusions: A select group of patients with right ventricular failure after atrial baffle operations can undergo staged conversion to ASO with the opportunity for excellent long-term outcome. Surgical modifications at the time of ASO can address the problems of neoaortic insufficiency and persistent atrial arrhythmias. PAB may be a therapeutic endpoint in some patients not responding with adequate left ventricular hypertrophy. Those patients who develop biventricular failure after PAB will require cardiac transplantation.