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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 May;143(5):1183-1192.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2011.12.039.

Outcomes after transplantation for "failed" Fontan: a single-institution experience.

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Nemours Cardiac Center, A.I. duPont Hospital for Children, 1600 Rockland Rd, Wilmington, DE 19803, USA.



Despite the excellent outcomes in the current era after the Fontan procedure, it continues to have an inherent risk of failure. Cardiac transplantation provides 1 option for treating these patients; however, the indications for, timing of, and outcomes after, transplantation remain undefined. We examined our own institutional experience with transplantation for failed Fontan.


The records of 155 patients transplanted for congenital heart disease at a single institution from June 1984 to September 2007 were reviewed. Of these patients, 43 had undergone a previous Fontan procedure (25 male, 15 female; median age, 14.5 years; range, 1-47; 23 classic Fontan, 13 lateral tunnel, 4 extracardiac conduit, and 3 revised to shunt). The predictors of short- and long-term survival were evaluated, and the Fontan patients were compared with all other patients with congenital heart disease (n = 129, 78 male, 51 female).


The most common indications for transplantation included protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) (39.5%), chronic heart failure (41.8%), and acute post-Fontan failure (9.3%). The transplants performed in Fontan patients were more likely to require pulmonary artery reconstruction (85.4% vs 42.9%; P < .0001) and had longer cardiopulmonary bypass times (278 vs 179 minutes; P < .0001). The 90-day mortality rate was greater in the Fontan group (35.0% vs 20.0%; P = .055). No correlation was observed between the interval from Fontan to transplantation and morality; however, renal failure was a strong predictor of early mortality (odds ratio, 10.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-75.7).


Transplantation is an acceptable treatment for patients with a failed Fontan. Clinical factors (instead of the indication for transplantation) appear to have the greatest correlation with early mortality.

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