Factors affecting Fontan length of stay: Results from the Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2016 Mar;151(3):669-675.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2015.09.061. Epub 2015 Sep 28.


Background: In the Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial, infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) who received a right-ventricle-to-pulmonary-artery shunt (RVPAS) versus a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt (MBTS) had lower early postoperative mortality, but more complications at 14 months. We explored the effect of shunt type and other patient, medical, and surgical factors on postoperative length of stay (LOS) after the Fontan operation.

Methods: Fontan postoperative course was ascertained from medical record review. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to identify factors associated with LOS.

Results: Of 327 subjects who underwent Fontan, 323 were analyzed (1 death, 1 biventricular repair, 2 with missing data). Median age and weight at Fontan were 2.8 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 2.3, 3.4) and 12.7 kg (IQR: 11.4, 14.1), respectively. Fontan type was extracardiac in 55% and lateral tunnel in 45%; 87% were fenestrated. The RVPAS and MBTS subjects had similar LOS (median 11 days [IQR: 9, 18] vs 10 days [IQR: 9, 13]; P = .23). Independent risk factors for longer LOS were treatment center (P < .01), LOS at stage II (hazard ratio [HR] 1.02 for each additional day; P < .01), and pre-Fontan complications (HR 1.03 for each additional complication; P = .04). Use of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest at Fontan (HR 0.64; P = .02) was independently associated with shorter LOS. When center was excluded from the model, pre-Fontan complications and use of circulatory arrest were no longer significant; instead, older age at stage II (HR 1.08 for each additional month; P = .01) predicted longer LOS. In 254 subjects who had a pre-Fontan echocardiogram, at least moderate tricuspid regurgitation was independently associated with longer LOS, both with center (HR 1.72; P < .01) and without center in the model (HR 1.49; P = .02).

Conclusions: In this multicenter prospective cohort of subjects with HLHS, Norwood shunt type was not associated with Fontan LOS. Rather, global measures of earlier medical complexity indicate greater likelihood of longer LOS after the Fontan operation.

Keywords: Fontan; Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial; hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blalock-Taussig Procedure* / adverse effects
  • Blalock-Taussig Procedure* / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fontan Procedure* / adverse effects
  • Fontan Procedure* / mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / mortality
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / surgery*
  • Length of Stay*
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • North America
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome