Background: Patients with severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) face significant morbidity and death as a consequence of progressive right heart failure. Surgical shunt placement between the left PA and descending aorta (Potts shunt) appears promising for PAH palliation in children; however, surgical mortality is likely to be unacceptably high in adults with PAH.
Methods: We describe a technique for transcatheter Potts shunt (TPS) creation by fluoroscopically guided retrograde needle perforation of the descending aorta at the site of apposition to the left PA to create a tract for deployment of a covered stent between these vessels. This covered stent-anchored by the vessel walls and surrounding tissue-serves as the shunt.
Results: TPS creation was considered in 7 patients and performed in 4. The procedure was technically successful in 3 patients; 1 patient died during the procedure as a result of uncontrolled hemothorax. One acute survivor, critically ill at the time of TPS creation, later died of comorbidities. The 2 mid-term survivors (follow-up of 10 and 4 months) are well at home, with symptomatic improvement and no late complications. The 3 candidate patients in whom the procedure was not performed died within 1 month of consideration, underscoring the tenuous nature of this population.
Conclusions: TPS creation is feasible and may offer symptomatic relief to select patients with refractory PAH. Further study of this innovative approach is warranted.
Copyright © 2013 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.