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This is a cross-sectional study aiming to understand the early characteristics and background of bone health impairment in clinically well children with Fontan circulation.
We enrolled 10 clinically well children with Fontan palliation (operated >5 years before study entrance, Tanner stage ≤3, age 12.1 ± 1.77 years, 7 males) and 11 healthy controls (age 12.0 ± 1.45 years, 9 males) at two children’s hospitals. All patients underwent peripheral quantitative CT. For the Fontan group, we obtained clinical characteristics, NYHA class, cardiac index by MRI, dual x-ray absorptiometry, and biochemical studies. Linear regression was used to compare radius and tibia peripheral quantitative CT measures between Fontan patients and controls.
All Fontan patients were clinically well (NYHA class 1 or 2, cardiac index 4.85 ± 1.51 L/min/m2) and without significant comorbidities. Adjusted trabecular bone mineral density, cortical thickness, and bone strength index at the radius were significantly decreased in Fontan patients compared to controls with mean differences −30.13 mg/cm3 (p = 0.041), −0.31 mm (p = 0.043), and −6.65 mg2/mm4 (p = 0.036), respectively. No differences were found for tibial measures. In Fontan patients, the mean height-adjusted lumbar bone mineral density and total body less head z scores were −0.46 ± 1.1 and −0.63 ± 1.1, respectively, which are below the average, but within normal range for age and sex.
In a clinically well Fontan cohort, we found significant bone deficits by peripheral quantitative CT in the radius but not the tibia, suggesting non-weight-bearing bones may be more vulnerable to the unique haemodynamics of the Fontan circulation.
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