Objective: We have analyzed, in a clinical multicenter study, the effect of cardiac surgery in adults with congenital heart disease in Italy.
Methods: We collected clinical data from 856 patients aged 19 years or older who underwent surgical intervention from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2004. Patients were divided into 3 surgical groups: group 1, palliation (3.1%); group 2, repair (69.7%); and group 3, reoperation (27.4%).
Results: Preoperatively, 34.6% of patients were in New York Heart Association class I, 48.4% were in class II, 14.2% were in class III, and 2.8% were in class IV. Sinus rhythm was present in 83%. There were 1179 procedures performed in 856 patients (1.37 procedures per patient), with a hospital mortality of 3.1%. Overall mean intensive care unit stay was 2.3 days (range, 1-102 days). Major complications were reported in 247 (28.8%) patients, and postoperative arrhythmias were the most frequent. At a mean follow-up of 22 months (range, 1 month-5.5 years; completeness, 87%), late death occurred in 5 (0.5%) patients. New York Heart Association class was I in 79.3%, II in 17.6%, and III in 2.9%, and only 1 (0.11%) patient was in class IV. Overall survival estimates are 82.6%, 98.9%, and 91.8% at 5 years for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Freedom from adverse events at 5 years is 91% for acyanotic patients versus 63.9% for preoperative cyanotic patients (P < .0001).
Conclusions: Surgical intervention for congenital heart disease in adults is a safe and low-risk treatment. However, patients presenting with preoperative cyanosis show a higher incidence of late adverse events and complications.