24-Year Results of Nonfenestrated Extracardiac Fontan Including Fontan Conversions

Elizabeth H. Stephens, Abhinav A. Talwar, Paul J. Devlin, Osama Eltayeb, Michael C. Mongé, Sabrina Tsao, Carl L. Backer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: There is active debate regarding the optimal method of Fontan palliation. In light of this, we reviewed our experience with the nonfenestrated extracardiac Fontan including Fontan conversion. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all nonfenestrated extracardiac Fontan and Fontan conversion operations at our institution from December 1, 1994 to December 31, 2018. Standard demographic data were collected, including underlying anatomy, preoperative ventricular and valvular function, operative details, perioperative data, and clinical outcomes. Statistical analysis included comparison between initial extracardiac Fontan patients and Fontan conversions, as well as analysis of risk factors for adverse outcomes. Results: There were 341 patients with an overall operative mortality of 4 patients (1.2%). Of these, 193 were extracardiac nonfenestrated Fontan completion operations (57%) and 148 were Fontan conversions (43%). Length of stay was 11 days (SD, 6 days) with ventilator duration of 28 hours (SD, 26 hours). Six of the completion Fontan patients (3%) required Fontan takedown at a median time of 2.5 days. Upon multivariable analysis, risk factors associated with adverse events (mortality, Fontan takedown, and/or transplant) included increased cardiopulmonary bypass time, preoperative decreased dominant ventricular function, and length of stay. Kaplan-Meier curves demonstrated that mild or greater preoperative ventricular dysfunction decreased survival as well as freedom from adverse events for both initial extracardiac Fontan and Fontan conversion patients. Conclusions: Over the past 24 years, our strategy of nonfenestrated extracardiac Fontan has achieved low operative mortality for both initial Fontan and Fontan conversion. There is a steady attrition of Fontan patients to cardiac transplantation; the key risk factor is preoperative ventricular dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-625
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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