The effect of bosentan on exercise capacity in Fontan patients; rationale and design for the TEMPO study

BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2013 May 11;13:36. doi: 10.1186/1471-2261-13-36.


Background: Palliative treatment with the Fontan procedure has greatly improved survival for children with functionally univentricular heart. Since Fontan performed the first successful operation, the procedure has evolved and is now performed as Total Cavo-Pulmonary Connection (TCPC).An increasing prevalence and longer life expectancy of TCPC patients have raised new challenges. The survivors are often suffering complications such as arrhythmias, myocardial dysfunction, thromboembolic events, neuropsychological deficit, protein-losing enteropathy and reduced exercise capacity. Several causes for the reduced exercise capacity may be present e.g. impaired function of the single ventricle, valve dysfunction and chronotropic impairment, and perhaps also increased pulmonary vascular resistance. Thus, plasma endothelin-1 has been shown to correlate with increased pulmonary vascular resistance and the risk of failing Fontan circulation. This has raised the question of the role for pulmonary vasodilation therapy, especially endothelin receptor antagonist in the management of TCPC patients.

Methods/design: The TEMPO trial aims to investigate whether Bosentan, an endothelin receptor antagonist, can be administered safely and improve exercise capacity in TCPC patients. The trial design is randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled. Bosentan/placebo is administered for 14 weeks with control visits every four weeks. The primary endpoint is change in maximal oxygen consumption as assessed on bicycle ergometer test. Secondary endpoints include changes in pulmonary blood flow during exercise test, pro brain natriuretic peptide and quality of life.

Discussion: We hypothesize that treatment with Bosentan, an endothelin receptor antagonist, can be administered safely and improve exercise capacity in TCPC patients.

Trial registration: NCT01292551.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Bosentan
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclic N-Oxides / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Endothelin Receptor Antagonists*
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Fontan Procedure*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / drug therapy*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sulfonamides / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Endothelin Receptor Antagonists
  • Sulfonamides
  • Bosentan

Associated data