Background: In patients who have received an atriopulmonary Fontan connection, complications such as right pulmonary vein obstruction, atrial arrhythmias, and thromboembolism are often secondary to right atrial enlargement. When such complications develop despite good ventricular function, there are few management options available. Extracardiac or intraatrial conduit cavopulmonary anastomosis, which improves central systemic venous flow patterns, avoids atrial distention, and does not involve the extensive atrial suturing required by other forms of cavopulmonary anastomosis, may provide relief for this group of patients.
Methods: Between October 1992 and October 1995, 7 patients presented 8 to 20 years after atriopulmonary connection with severe right atrial dilatation (7), Fontan pathway obstruction (4), progressive congestive heart failure (4), atrial tachydysrhythmias (3), right atrial thrombus (1), obstruction of right pulmonary veins by an enlarged right atrium (1), and subaortic stenosis (1). After evaluation of the options, they underwent revision of the atriopulmonary connection to extracardiac (5) or intraatrial (2) conduit cavopulmonary anastomosis.
Results: One patient with severe cachexia, in whom transplantation was contraindicated for social reasons, died in the early postoperative period of massive effusions. Two patients eventually required permanent pacing for atrial dysrhythmias (1) or complete heart block secondary to subaortic fibromuscular resection (1), and 2 demonstrated marked improvement in unstable preoperative rhythm disturbances. At a median follow-up of 17 months, 4 of the 6 survivors were functioning at higher New York Heart Association levels than preoperatively, and 1 had recently undergone heart transplantation.
Conclusions: In properly selected patients with atrial complications, revision of a prior Fontan connection to extracardiac or intraatrial conduit cavopulmonary anastomosis appears to be a viable option.