Patch augmentation of small ascending aorta during stage I procedure reduces the risk of morbidity and mortality

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2021 Jul 16;ezab312. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezab312. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) with aortic atresia (AA) patients are prone to coronary insufficiency due to a small ascending aorta. Prophylactic patch augmentation of the small ascending aorta during the stage I procedure (S1P) may reduce the risk of coronary insufficiency as marked by ventricular dysfunction, need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO) support or mortality.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of patients with HLHS with AA who underwent an S1P was completed. Baseline ascending aorta size, right ventricular (RV) function and outcome variables of transplant-free survival, ECMO support after the stage 1 operation and RV function at the time of the bidirectional Glenn and latest follow-up were collected.

Results: Between January 2010 and April 2020, 11 patients underwent prophylactic ascending aorta augmentation at the time of the S1P as a planned portion of the procedure. A total of 125 patients underwent S1P during this period as a comparison. Overall survival was 100% for the augmented group and 74% for the control group (P = 0.66). A composite end point of transplant-free survival, no post-S1P ECMO and less than moderate RV dysfunction was created. At the time of BDG, this composite end point was 100% for the augmented group and 61.8% for the control group (P = 0.008) and at most recent follow-up was 100% for the augmented group and 59.3% for control (P = 0.007). Eight patients required a rescue procedure for the clinical evidence of coronary insufficiency following S1P that included ascending aorta patch augmentation or stent placement. When comparing these rescue versus prophylactic ascending aortic augmentations, there were also differences in the composite outcome 100% for augmented and 60% for rescue (P = 0.009) and at the time of most recent follow-up 100% for augmented and 50% for rescue (P = 0.029).

Conclusions: Prophylactic patch augmentation of the ascending aorta in HLHS patients with AA may reduce the risk of mortality, ECMO and reduced RV function. Patients not initially undergoing augmentation but then requiring a rescue procedure have particularly poor outcomes. Patch augmentation for smaller ascending aortic diameters should be considered and further clinical experience may help delineate aorta diameter threshold for augmentation.

Keywords: Hypoplastic left heart syndrome; Interstage mortality; Small ascending aorta.