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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1997 May;29(6):1365-70.

Outcomes after bidirectional cavopulmonary shunt in infants less than 6 months old.

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  • 1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of California San Francisco 94143-0118, USA.



We sought to assess the results after bidirectional cavopulmonary shunt (BCPS) in infants < 6 months old and to identify risk factors for poor outcome.


Although BCPS is a well established procedure for the palliation of patients with a single-ventricle heart, there have been very few reports of outcomes after BCPS in young infants.


Since 1990, 42 infants between 0.8 and 6.0 months of age (mean [+/-SD] 3.7 +/- 1.4) have undergone BCPS for primary (n = 16) or secondary (n = 26) palliation of tricuspid atresia (n = 13), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (n = 10) or other forms of functional single-ventricle heart (n = 19). Accessory pulmonary blood flow was included in 18 patients. Preoperative and perioperative data were gathered on retrospective review of patient records, and follow-up was conducted by means of direct physician contact or record review.


The overall hospital mortality rate, including that associated with reoperations, was 4.8% (2 of 42 patients). Seven patients (17%) required reoperation related to the BCPS or pulmonary blood flow in the early postoperative period: Procedures included take-down of the BCPS in four patients, with one early death, and procedures to decrease pulmonary blood flow in three patients. Age < 1 month correlated significantly with early death and with early failure of the BCPS (death or take-down). Follow-up of the 37 patients discharged with intact BCPS was obtained at a mean +/-SD of 14.3 +/- 11.3 months postoperatively, during which time three patients died (at 6.5 +/- 2.5 months). The 2-year actuarial survival rate for patients undergoing BCPS at < 6 months of age was 86%. Overall freedom from death or take-down (including early and late events) was significantly lower in patients < 2 months old than in those > 2 months old. Four patients have undergone successful Fontan completion (18.3 +/- 2.9 months postoperatively), and one patient whose BCPS was taken down subsequently underwent successful restoration of a BCPS.


Outcomes after BCPS in young infants are comparable to those in older infants and children. However, our current preference is to defer this procedure until after 2 months of age.

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