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Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Mar;93(3):856-61. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2011.10.057. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Assessment of the relationship between Contegra conduit size and early valvar insufficiency.

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Department of Pediatrics, The Heart Institute, Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.



Contegra bovine jugular vein (BJV) conduit results vary widely, and little attention has been directed at assessment of early conduit insufficiency. Conduit insufficiency is graded subjectively, and criteria vary. Several studies have used branch pulmonary artery flow reversal (BPAFR) to define severe conduit insufficiency. BJV valves are larger than human pulmonary valves of similar diameter. We hypothesize that anatomic differences between BJV and human pulmonary valves limit the use of BPAFR in the evaluation of BJV competence. Our purposes were to (1) assess the prevalence of early and 6-month BJV conduit insufficiency in our patients, (2) determine if conduit size affects BJV competence, and (3) determine if BPAFR is a specific discriminator of severe conduit insufficiency.


We reviewed 135 BJV conduits. One cardiologist blinded to original reports reviewed postoperative and 6-month echocardiograms. Conduits were grouped by size: group 1, 12 to 14 mm (n=51), and group 2, 16 to 22 mm (n=84). Moderate or greater insufficiency was considered clinically significant.


Early conduit insufficiency was common in group 1 (37%) and rare in group 2 (5%, p<0.0001). After excluding conduits with significant insufficiency, BPAFR occurred in 18% (group 1, 27%; group 2, 13%; p=0.02). At follow-up, insufficiency worsened in group 1 but was stable in group 2.


Early conduit insufficiency is common and worsens with follow-up in small BJVs. Conduit insufficiency is limited in larger sizes and remains stable. BJV exhibits BPAFR commonly in the absence of significant conduit insufficiency. BPAFR should not be used as a primary criterion for grading insufficiency in BJV conduits.

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