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The initial classic Fontan utilising a direct right atrial appendage to pulmonary artery anastomosis led to numerous complications. Adults with such complications may benefit from conversion to a total cavo-pulmonary connection, the current standard palliation for children with univentricular hearts.
A single institution, retrospective chart review was conducted for all Fontan conversion procedures performed from July, 1999 through January, 2017. Variables analysed included age, sex, reason for Fontan conversion, age at Fontan conversion, and early mortality or heart transplant within 1 year after Fontan conversion.
A total of 41 Fontan conversion patients were identified. Average age at Fontan conversion was 24.5 ± 9.2 years. Dominant left ventricular physiology was present in 37/41 (90.2%) patients. Right-sided heart failure occurred in 39/41 (95.1%) patients and right atrial dilation was present in 33/41 (80.5%) patients. The most common causes for Fontan conversion included atrial arrhythmia in 37/41 (90.2%), NYHA class II HF or greater in 31/41 (75.6%), ventricular dysfunction in 23/41 (56.1%), and cirrhosis or fibrosis in 7/41 (17.1%) patients. Median post-surgical follow-up was 6.2 ± 4.9 years. Survival rates at 30 days, 1 year, and greater than 1-year post-Fontan conversion were 95.1, 92.7, and 87.8%, respectively. Two patients underwent heart transplant: the first within 1 year of Fontan conversion for heart failure and the second at 5.3 years for liver failure.
Fontan conversion should be considered early when atrial arrhythmias become common rather than waiting for severe heart failure to ensue, and Fontan conversion can be accomplished with an acceptable risk profile.
Pulmonary lymphangiectasia associated with hypoplastic left heart syndrome with an intact or restrictive atrial septum may result from increased left atrial pressure, and is associated with worse outcomes following staged reconstruction due to lung dysfunction and significant hypoxaemia. Our objective was to characterise the incidence of pulmonary lymphangiectasia in cases of early mortality following stage 1 reconstructions.
An institutional cardiac surgical database was retrospectively searched for patients who died within 30 days following a stage 1 reconstruction between 1 January, 1984 and 31 December, 2013. During that period, 1669 stage 1 procedures were performed. Autopsy lung specimens were reviewed by a paediatric pathologist. Patients who died of suspected technical issues were excluded.
A total of 54 patients were included, and of these seven cases (8.5%) of pulmonary lymphangiectasia were identified. The mean estimated gestational age was 38.2±2.4 weeks, and the mean birth weight was 3.0±0.6 kg. The median interval between surgery and death was 1 day (with a range from 0 to 18 days). The atrial septum was intact in one patient (14.3%), restrictive in three patients (42.9%), and unrestrictive in three patients (42.9%).
Pulmonary lymphangiectasia may develop in hypoplastic left heart syndrome with or without a restrictive atrial septum. As standard prenatal diagnostic evaluations and treatment methods for pulmonary lymphangiectasia are limited, this may be an important contributor to early and late mortality following stage 1 reconstruction for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
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