Additional pulmonary blood flow has no adverse effect on outcome after bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis

Ann Thorac Surg. 2005 Jan;79(1):29-36; discussion 36-7. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2004.06.002.


Background: Controversy continues over whether additional sources of pulmonary blood flow are beneficial in combination with a bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis. We have therefore assessed the effects of additional pulmonary blood flow on outcome after bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis.

Methods: From 1996 to 2000, 106 patients underwent bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis, either isolated (group 1, n = 54), or with additional pulmonary blood flow through the pulmonary artery (group 2, n = 30) or a Blalock-Taussig shunt (group 3, n = 22).

Results: Superior vena cava syndrome was more frequent in group 2 and less in groups 1 and 3 (p < 0.05). Low-output syndrome was more frequent in group 2 and less in group 3 (p = 0.01). Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed higher oxygen saturations with additional pulmonary blood flow (p < 0.05) and significant changes over time (p < 0.0001). Pulmonary pressures, systemic ventricular fractional shortening, end-diastolic diameter index, end-diastolic pressure, and atrioventricular valve regurgitation remained unaffected by additional pulmonary blood flow. Pulmonary artery pressures were lower in group 2 than 3 (p < 0.05). Fractional shortening (p < 0.05) and atrioventricular valve regurgitation (p < 0.0001) changed significantly over time. Fractional shortening showed a strong trend toward different changing patterns with or without additional pulmonary blood flow (p = 0.055), and atrioventricular valve regurgitation showed different changing patterns among the groups (p < 0.005). End-diastolic diameter and pulmonary artery dimensions, which were smaller than normal, remained unchanged. In logistic regression, smaller body surface area at bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis, single ventricle, and bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis with a Blalock-Taussig shunt were associated with early death. Actuarial survival including total cavopulmonary connection did not differ among groups (p = 0.96).

Conclusions: We conclude that additional pulmonary blood flow has no adverse effect on outcome after cavopulmonary anastomosis. Additional flow through the main pulmonary artery offers different advantages and disadvantages concerning perioperative complications and pulmonary artery growth compared with additional flow through a Blalock-Taussig shunt.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Cardiac Output, Low / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / abnormalities*
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Life Tables
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Palliative Care*
  • Pleural Effusion / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Pulmonary Artery / surgery*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Superior Vena Cava Syndrome / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vena Cava, Superior / surgery*


  • Oxygen