Objective: To determine the fate of the unligated vertical vein after repair of isolated supracardiac total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC).
Methods: We reviewed the outcome of 28 patients who were diagnosed to have isolated supracardiac TAPVC and determined the fate of the unligated vertical vein.
Results: Of the 28 patients, four died before surgery. The remaining 24 patients underwent surgical correction of TAPVC with (n = 5) or without (n = 19) ligation of vertical vein at a median age of 20 days (range: 1-574 days). There were no significant differences in age, weight, presence of pulmonary venous obstruction, need for preoperative inotropic and ventilatory support, cardiopulmonary bypass duration, postoperative pulmonary hypertensive crisis and requirement of peritoneal dialysis between patients with and those without vertical vein ligation. The in-hospital surgical mortality was 50% (12/24), with 83% (10/12) of deaths occurring before 1990. Patients who died after surgery were significantly younger (median age: 5.5 days vs 37 days, P = 0.005), lighter (3.3 +/- 0.5 kg vs 3.9 +/- 0.6 kg, P = 0.016), more likely to have pulmonary venous obstruction preoperatively (75% vs 12%, P = 0.039) and have undergone surgery before 1990 (83% vs 33%, P = 0.036). The 12 survivors were followed up for a median of 4.7 years (range: 2.3-18.1 years), 10 of whom had their vertical vein unligated. The vertical vein remained patent in five (50%) patients, while stenosis of pulmonary venous anastomosis was only present in one patient. Of these five patients, three had subsequently undergone surgical ligation of the vertical vein to eliminate a large left-to-right shunt.
Conclusions: Patency of the unligated vertical vein is common after the repair of supracardiac TAPVC, even in the absence of pulmonary venous obstruction. The degree of left-to-right shunt through the patent vertical vein may be so significant as to warrant surgical ligation.