Fontan-type procedures: residual lesions and late interventions

Ann Thorac Surg. 2002 Sep;74(3):778-85. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(02)03756-6.


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine the type and incidence of hemodynamic and electrophysiological abnormalities requiring surgical or catheter-based interventions in a single-center long-term experience.

Methods: Eighty-eight patients with a follow-up of at least 5 years (mean follow-up, 9.6 +/- 2.6 years) after Fontan-type procedures were included. All patients had undergone cardiac catheterization either as part of the regular postoperative protocol or because of symptomatic atrial tachycardia or increasing cyanosis.

Results: Freedom from reoperation for up to 5 years was documented for 82% of patients and decreased to 76% after 8 years. Late reoperations included conversion of an atriopulmonary anastomosis to a total cavopulmonary anastomosis in 2 patients with atrial dysrhythmia and implantation of an extracardiac conduit in 1 patient with left atrial isomerism and intrapulmonary arteriovenous malformations after a Kawashima operation. Decline in sinus node function with symptomatic bradycardia required pacemaker therapy in 10 patients (11%). Transcatheter interventions included fenestration occlusion in 5 of the 11 patients with initial baffle fenestration. In 6 of 17 patients with aortopulmonary collaterals, coil occlusion was indicated to reduce future systemic ventricular volume load. Various systemic venous collaterals were documented in 11 patients and required coil occlusion in 2. One patient with symptomatic protein-losing enteropathy underwent transcatheter fenestration creation without sustained relief of symptoms. Freedom from transcatheter interventions decreased from 94% to 82% after 5 and 10 years, respectively.

Conclusions: During long-term follow-up, reoperations are rare and mainly involve Fontan conversion to either a lateral-tunnel or extracardiac-conduit procedure. Detailed angiographic evaluation on a routine basis allows identification of the vascular sites of origin of aortopulmonary collateral vessels and systemic venous collaterals potentially developing during long-term follow-up. Transcatheter interventions including fenestration occlusion and occlusion of venous collaterals and aortopulmonary collaterals were performed to maintain and improve the Fontan circulation in clinically symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. During long-term follow-up after Fontan-type operations, a regular postoperative cardiac catheterization protocol is recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fontan Procedure*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / mortality
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Reoperation / mortality
  • Survival Rate