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Owing to the absence of a sub-pulmonary ventricle, the central venous pressure rises in patients with Fontan circulation. During exercise, central venous pressure may rise further to increase the systemic ventricular preload and cardiac output. We performed a single-centre prospective trial of cardiopulmonary exercise test while monitoring peripheral venous pressure which strongly correlates with central venous pressure. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that peripheral venous pressure at peak exercise inversely correlates with exercise capacity in patients with Fontan circulation. Seventeen patients following Fontan operation performed cardiopulmonary exercise test while monitoring peripheral venous pressure. Peak oxygen uptake, heart rate reserve, peak oxygen pulse (divided by body surface area), and peripheral venous pressure at peak exercise were measured. Correlations of peripheral venous pressure at peak exercise with the peak oxygen uptake, heart rate reserve, and peak oxygen pulse were evaluated. The peripheral venous pressure at peak exercise inversely correlated with the peak oxygen uptake (R = −0.66, p < 0.01), heart rate reserve (R = −0.6, p < 0.05), and peak oxygen pulse (R = −0.48, p < 0.05). Exercise-induced peripheral venous hypertension correlates with exercise intolerance in patients with Fontan circulation. Peak oxygen uptake is a useful index for evaluating the status of congestion in the daily life of patients with Fontan circulation.
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