Extracardiac valved conduits represent one of the weakest facets of reconstructive surgery for congenital heart disease in that they invariably need to be replaced because of growth of the patient or because of valve or conduit failure. Between 1979 and 1989, 141 patients had 169 valved conduits placed between the heart and the pulmonary artery circuit. There were 81 male and 60 female patients, aged 2 days to 35 years (mean age, 5.9 years), with 46 patients less than 1 year of age. We performed primary repair in 117 patients; in this group, there have been 28 conduit replacements in 27 patients. In 17 patients initial repair with a conduit was performed elsewhere and we replaced these conduits in 15 and removed them in 2. A further group of 9 patients were seen after repair of tetralogy of Fallot or double-outlet right ventricle, with severe pulmonary incompetence or right ventricular outflow tract aneurysm. All had valved conduits inserted as secondary procedures. The types of valved conduits used were xenograft (n = 126) and homograft (n = 43). There were six hospital deaths (3.6%; 70% confidence limits [CL], 2% to 6%) and seven late deaths (4.1%; CL, 2.5% to 6.5%) in a total of 169 conduit insertions. Forty-five conduits have been removed and 43 reinserted without early or late mortality (0%; CL, 0% to 4%). Actuarial survival after conduit insertion was 87% at 5 years (CL, 80% to 92%), including operative mortality. Actuarial freedom from conduit replacement was 37% at 5 years (CL, 20% to 56%). Conduit insertion in infants and small children ensures subsequent replacement, but this can be done at low risk. Our policy therefore has been to attempt to match the conduit to the size of the patient rather than to insert a large conduit. Our current approach is to use a Dacron conduit at initial repair to establish a prosthetic sewing margin adjacent to the left main and left anterior descending coronary arteries for safe subsequent replacement, preferably with a cryopreserved homograft. Replacement should be done before development of important right ventricular dysfunction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine