Background: In patients with transposition of the great arteries with low left ventricular pressure, pulmonary artery banding with aortopulmonary shunt placement has been advocated to "prepare" the left ventricle for systemic work before an arterial switch operation.
Methods and results: In 28 patients, this preparatory procedure was performed with one death. A successful arterial switch operation was performed at a median of 7 days later in 24 of 27 survivors; one child had a Senning performed, and two others died. During this interval period, the left ventricular-to-right ventricular pressure ratio increased from 48 +/- 8% to 98 +/- 19%, and left ventricular mass (indexed for body surface area) increased from 46 +/- 17 to 72 +/- 23 g/m2. After the preparatory procedure, the initial postoperative period was frequently characterized by a low-output syndrome of variable length and severity. Prolonged mechanical ventilation, extended inotropic support, and/or a significant metabolic acidosis was present in 21 of 28 patients in the immediate postoperative period.
Conclusions: The low-output syndrome is most likely due to a combination of acute (fixed) right ventricular volume overload from the shunt and acute (transient) left ventricular dysfunction from the pulmonary artery band. This low-output syndrome should be anticipated following the preparatory procedure.