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Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Sep;94(3):817-24. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.03.099. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Potts shunt in children with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension: long-term results.

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Centre Chirurgical Marie Lannelongue, Département de Chirurgie cardiaque des cardiopathies congénitales, Le Plessis-Robinson, France.



Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) remains a progressive fatal disease. Palliative Potts shunt has been proposed in children displaying suprasystemic IPAH.


A retrospective multicenter study was performed to evaluate Potts shunt in pediatric IPAH.


Between 2003 and 2010, 8 children with suprasystemic IPAH and in World Health Organization functional class IV despite medical pulmonary arterial hypertension therapy underwent Potts shunt. Age at IPAH diagnosis ranged from 4 to 180 months (median age, 64 months). Surgical procedure was performed in a mean delay of 41.9±54.3 months (range, 4 to 167 months; median delay, 20 months) after IPAH diagnosis. Mean size of the Potts shunt was 9.25±3.30 mm. Two patients, whose medical pulmonary arterial hypertension therapy had been interrupted just after surgery, died at postoperative days 11 and 13 of acute pulmonary hypertensive crisis. After a mean follow-up of 63.7±16.1 months, the 6 children who were discharged from the hospital were alive. Functional status improved markedly in the 6 survivors, with a World Health Organization functional class I (n=4) or II (n=2) at last follow-up, consistent with significant improvement of 6-minute-walk distance (302±95 m [51%±20% of theoretical values] versus 456±91 m [68%±10% of theoretical values]; p=0.038) and decrease of brain natriuretic peptide levels (608±109 pg/mL versus 76±45 pg/mL; p=0.035). No Potts shunt was found to be restrictive at last echocardiography.


Palliative Potts shunt constitutes a new alternative to lung transplantation in severely ill children with suprasystemic IPAH, carrying a prolonged survival and persistent improvement in functional capacities.

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