Pulmonary function and ventilatory limitation to exercise in congenital heart disease

Congenit Heart Dis. 2009 Jan-Feb;4(1):2-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0803.2008.00244.x.


Pulmonary function in older children and adolescents following surgical repair of congenital heart disease is often abnormal for various reasons. Many of these patients report symptoms of exercise intolerance although the reason(s) for this symptom can be complicated and sometimes interrelated. Is it simply deconditioning due to inactive lifestyle, chronotropic or inotropic insufficiency? or could there indeed be ventilatory limitation to exercise? These are the questions facing the clinician with the increasing frequency of patients undergoing repair early in life and growing into adulthood. Understanding pulmonary functional outcomes and means of determining ventilatory limitation to exercise is essential to thoroughly address the problem. This article reviews pulmonary function in patients with congenital heart disease and then describes a newer technique that should be applied to determine ventilatory limitation to exercise.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Total Lung Capacity
  • Young Adult