Background: The evolving operative strategy and course of 111 consecutive Fontan conversions with arrhythmia surgery and pacemaker therapy were reviewed to identify risk factors for poor outcome.
Methods: Since 1994, 111 patients (mean age 22.5 +/- 7.9 years) underwent Fontan conversion with arrhythmia surgery. The series was divided into three time periods: (1) 1994 to 1996 (initial isthmus ablation, n = 9, group I); (2) 1996 to 2003 (early modified right atrial maze and Cox-maze III, n = 51, group II); and (3) 2003 to 2006 (recent modifications of the modified right atrial maze and left atrial Cox-maze III for both atrial fibrillation and left atrial reentry tachycardia, n = 51, group III).
Results: There were one early (0.9%) and six late deaths (5.4%); six patients required cardiac transplantation (5.4%). Two late deaths occurred after transplantation. Renal failure requiring dialysis occurred in four patients (3.6%). Mean hospital stay was 13.7 +/- 12.1 days. Mean cross-clamp time was 70.8 +/- 41.6 minutes. Four risk factors for death or transplantation were identified: presence of a right or ambiguous ventricle, preoperative protein-losing enteropathy, preoperative moderate-to-severe atrioventricular valve regurgitation, and long (>239 minutes) cardiopulmonary bypass time. In intergroup comparisons (groups I and II versus group III), three trends were noted: increased incidence of concomitant surgical repairs (p = 0.03), older patients (p = 0.01), and increased incidence of left atrial reentry tachycardia and atrial fibrillation (p = 0.04). Late recurrence of atrial tachycardia ensued in 15 of 111 (13.5%); 8 of 51 in group II (15.7%) and 4 of 51 in group III (7.8) (p = 0.3).
Conclusions: Fontan conversion with arrhythmia surgery is safe and efficacious. Based on improved results and evolving surgical techniques, selection criteria can be more clearly defined.