Objective: Using age-matched controls, this study prospectively evaluated coagulation factor abnormalities and hemodynamic variables in children who had undergone the Fontan operation.
Methods: Coagulation factors were assayed in 20 children (mean age 6.4 +/- 2.9 years), at a mean 3.7 +/- 2.3 years after the Fontan procedure; 24 healthy children (mean age 6.8 +/- 2.8 years) were assayed as controls. Concentration of factors II, V, VII, VIII, IX, X; ATIII; plasminogen; proteins C and S; fibrinogen; serum albumin; and liver enzymes were measured. Normal reference intervals based on the control patients were determined using 95% confidence limits. Patient demographic, hemodynamic variables, and elapsed time after the Fontan procedure were evaluated as possible predictors of coagulation abnormalities.
Results: Concentrations of protein C; factors II, V, VII, X; plasminogen; and ATIII were significantly lower in Fontan patients compared with age-matched controls (P <.01); factor VIII was significantly elevated in 6 patients (35%), 2 of whom had a thromboembolic event. A higher superior vena cava pressure was predictive of an elevated factor VIII level (P =.003). No other specific hemodynamic variables were predictive of a procoagulant or anticoagulant abnormality.
Conclusion: Procoagulant and anticoagulant factor levels were significantly lower in patients after the Fontan operation independent of hemodynamic variables peculiar to the Fontan circulation. Increased factor VIII level requires further evaluation as a cause of thrombosis in patients with Fontan physiology and may also indicate a subset of these patients in whom anticoagulation is indicated.