Introduction: The Contegra® bioprosthetic valved conduit, a glutaraldehyde-preserved valve-containing bovine jugular vein graft (Contegra, Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis MN, USA) introduced for clinical trials in 1998, is used for reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT), mainly in children. This study evaluates our surgical experience with the Contegra® graft, emphasizing the assessment of conduit durability at mid-term follow up.
Methods: The intermediate results of RVOT reconstruction utilizing the Contegra conduit were retrospectively analyzed in a series of 34 consecutive patients (25 male, 9 female), with a mean age of 10.9 ± 11.2 years (range 0.2-46 years). Included were 14 patients with tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with pulmonary atresia, 11 with reoperation of previously corrected TOF, 5 with truncus arteriosus, 2 with TOF with absent pulmonary valve, 1 reoperation of previously repaired double outlet right ventricle with pulmonary atresia, and 1 undergoing a Ross procedure. Contegra conduit sizes varied in diameter between 12 and 22 mm (mean 18.3 ± 3.2 mm).
Results: There were no hospital deaths. There was one early conduit replacement as a result of recurrent thrombosis. Four patients developed early thrombus formation in a valve cusp with complete resolution following anticoagulation therapy. At mean follow up of 85 months (range 6-136 months) and median follow up of 95 months, one patient required Contegra graft explantation in another institution (indications unknown). Freedom from reoperation for Contegra grafts was 94% at 11.4 years. Mean transpulmonary pressure gradients remained low (9.6 ± 5.3 mmHg postoperative, 19.6 ± 10.6 mmHg at follow up). Although there was a clear trend towards worsening of conduit valve insufficiency, this was neither statistically significant nor considered clinically so.
Conclusions: In our experience of 34 consecutive operations, the Contegra® valved conduit for RVOT reconstruction seems to be a reliable alternative to homograft conduits, with promising mid-term freedom from structural deterioration and reoperation.