Post-Fontan pulmonary artery growth in patients with a bidirectional cavopulmonary shunt with additional antegrade pulsatile blood flow


Advocate Children's Hospital


BACKGROUND: Patients with antegrade pulmonary blood flow after a bidirectional cavopulmonary shunt (Glenn) may have better pulmonary artery growth. This study evaluated pulmonary artery growth in patients with and without prior additional pulsatile antegrade flow in a Glenn shunt at midterm follow-up after a Fontan procedure.

METHODS: We reviewed 212 patients who had single-ventricle palliation in a 10-year period;103 (33 in pulsatile group 1 and 70 in nonpulsatile group 2) were selected for analysis. Data on demographics, procedures, perioperative course, and midterm follow-up after the Fontan procedure were compared. Echocardiography data were collected. Pulmonary artery sizes measured at cardiac catheterization and follow-up echocardiograms were used to calculate the Nakata index.

RESULTS: Perioperative details were comparable in both groups, mean pulmonary artery pressure and systemic oxygen saturations were higher in group 1 compared to group 2. Venovenous collaterals were increased in group 1. There was a significant difference in the pre-Fontan and follow-up Nakata index between groups. There was a significant increase in the Nakata index in group 1 between the pre-Glenn and pre-Fontan assessments as well as the Nakata index between the pre-Fontan and midterm follow-up. There was no significant change in the Nakata index in group 2 between assessments.

CONCLUSIONS: A pulsatile Glenn shunt is associated with better pulmonary artery growth which continues long after the additional pulsatile flow is eliminated. It is possible that the effects of anterograde pulmonary blood flow on pulmonary artery growth in early life continue long after the Fontan completion.

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