Thromboembolic complications after Fontan operations.
BACKGROUND: Despite the increasing recognition of thromboembolic complications of the Fontan procedure, data characterizing such events are limited. The total cavopulmonary connection is believed to be less prone to this complication than other modifications of Fontan operations. We examined our experience with thromboembolism after Fontan operations to better characterize these events and their relation to the type of Fontan operation performed. METHODS AND RESULTS: We retrospectively identified 70 patients who underwent a Fontan operation between January 1978 and March 1994. Patients were divided into three groups: (1) total cavopulmonary connection, (2) atriopulmonary connection, and (3) conduit interposition. Fourteen patients (20%) developed a thromboembolic complication during a mean (+/- SD) follow-up of 5.2 +/- 4.7 years. The rate of thrombosis was similar in each group. The time from Fontan operation to thrombosis averaged 6.1 +/- 5.0 years. The overall rate of thromboembolic events was 3.9 per 100 patient-years. Twelve of the 14 thrombi were located within the venous circulation, 1 was in the left ventricle, and the location of 1 was undetermined. Six of the patients (43%) were asymptomatic, 3 (21%) presented with cerebrovascular events, and 5 (36%) presented with other symptoms. Thromboembolic events occurred from the perioperative period to 15 years after surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Thromboembolic complications occur frequently after the Fontan operation and its modifications and are a cause of significant morbidity. The time of presentation varies greatly. The rate of thrombosis appears to be similar in all modifications of the Fontan operation.
Rosenthal, DN; Friedman, AH; Kleinman, CS; Kopf, GS; Rosenfeld, LE; Hellenbrand, WE
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