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J Am Coll Cardiol. 1995 Jun;25(7):1712-7.

Cardiac catheterization and test occlusion of the interatrial communication after the fenestrated Fontan operation.

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Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Our objective was to determine whether catheterization data obtained after a fenestrated Fontan operation influenced patient management or predicted functional status.


Cardiac catheterization after a fenestrated Fontan operation is undertaken to identify residual lesions and to observe the patient's response to test occlusion of the baffle fenestration.


Sixty patients undergoing both a fenestrated Fontan operation before July 1991 and a postoperative catheterization before March 1992 were included in the study. Catheterization data were collected according to a test occlusion protocol; these data were reviewed, and the patient's clinical status at follow-up was ascertained.


Test occlusion resulted in a significant increase in systemic venous pressure, arterial oxygen saturation and arteriovenous difference in oxygen content (p < 0.0001). After test occlusion, systemic venous pressure was 40% higher and systemic venous saturation 23% lower among patients with an unfavorable versus a favorable response to test occlusion, although differences between the two groups were subtle or inapparent in the baseline state. Branch pulmonary artery stenosis (identified and balloon dilated in 6 patients) and grade 2 or 3 aortopulmonary collateral vessels (identified and coil embolized in 20) were associated with elevation in systemic venous pressure (p < 0.01). After an average of 2 years of follow-up, there were no deaths, and 50 (83%) of 60 patients were in New York Heart Association functional class I. The only postoperative characteristic significantly associated with being in functional class I at follow-up was a systemic venous pressure < 17 mm Hg.


Cardiac catheterization with test occlusion of the interatrial communication provides useful information after a fenestrated Fontan operation. Conditions associated with elevated systemic venous pressure should be sought and treated, and the response of systemic venous pressure to test occlusion should be considered when deciding whether to close an interatrial communication.

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