The extracardiac conduit Fontan procedure in Australia and New Zealand: hypoplastic left heart syndrome predicts worse early and late outcomes

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2014 Sep;46(3):465-73; discussion 473. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezu015. Epub 2014 Feb 26.


Objectives: To identify factors associated with hospital and long-term outcomes in a binational cohort of extracardiac conduit (ECC) Fontan recipients.

Methods: All patients who underwent an ECC Fontan procedure from 1997 to 2010 in Australia and New Zealand were identified, and perioperative, follow-up, echocardiographic and reintervention data collected. Risk factors for early and late mortality, failure and adverse outcomes were analysed.

Results: A total of 570 patients were identified, and late follow-up was available in 529 patients. The mean follow-up was 6.7 years (standard deviation: 3.5) and completeness of the follow-up was 98%. There were seven hospital mortalities (1%) and 21 patients (4%) experienced early failure (death, Fontan takedown/revision or mechanical circulatory support). Prolonged length of stay occurred in 10% (57 patients), and prolonged effusions in 9% (51 patients). Overall survival at 14 years was 96% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 93-98%), and late survival for patients discharged with intact Fontan was 98% (95% CI: 94-99%). The rates of late failure (late death, transplantation, takedown, New York Heart Association class III/IV or protein-losing enteropathy) and adverse events (late failure, reoperation, percutaneous intervention, pacemaker, thromboembolic event or supraventricular tachycardia) per 100 patient-years were 0.8 and 3.8, and their 14-year freedoms were 83% (95% CI: 70-91%) and 53% (95% CI: 41-64%), respectively. After adjustment for confounders, hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) was strongly associated with prolonged effusions (OR: 2.9, 95% CI: 1.4-5.9), late failure (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.8, 95% CI: 1.1-7.5) and adverse events (HR: 3.6, 95% CI: 1.3-7.5).

Conclusions: The extracardiac Fontan procedure provides excellent survival into the second decade of life, but half of patients will suffer a late adverse event by 14 years. Patients with HLHS are at higher risk of late adverse events than other morphological groups, but their survival is still excellent.

Keywords: Congenital heart disease; Disease-free survival; Follow-up studies; Fontan procedure; Retrospective studies; Survival rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fontan Procedure / adverse effects
  • Fontan Procedure / methods*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome