Somatic growth in single ventricle patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Acta Paediatr. 2023 Feb;112(2):186-199. doi: 10.1111/apa.16562. Epub 2022 Oct 17.


Aim: To map somatic growth patterns throughout Fontan palliation and summarise evidence on its key modifiers.

Methods: Databases were searched for relevant articles published from January 2000 to December 2021. Height and weight z scores at each time point (birth, Glenn procedure, Fontan procedure and >5 years after Fontan completion) were pooled using a random effects meta-analysis. A random effects meta-regression model was fitted to model the trend in z scores over time.

Results: Nineteen studies fulfilled eligibility criteria, yielding a total of 2006 participants. The z scores for height and weight were markedly reduced from birth to the interstage period, but recovered by about 50% following the Glenn procedure. At >10 years after the Fontan procedure, the z scores for weight seemed to normalise despite persistent lower height, resulting in increased body mass index. The review revealed a number of modifiers of somatic growth, including aggressive nutritional management, timing of Glenn/Fontan, prompt resolution of complications and obesity prevention programmes in adolescence and adulthood.

Conclusion: This review mapped the somatic growth of single ventricle patients and summarised key modifiers that may be amendable to improvement. These data provide guidance on strategies to further optimise somatic growth in this population and may serve as a benchmark for clinical follow-up.

Keywords: Fontan procedure; congenital heart disease; development; functionally univentricular hearts; growth.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Fontan Procedure* / methods
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / surgery
  • Heart Ventricles / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome