Background: We sought to evaluate the incidence of Fontan failure or complication and its relation to death in patients having contemporary Fontan strategies over 2 decades. Methods: Five hundred patients who underwent Fontan completion (extracardiac, n = 326; lateral tunnel, n = 174) from 1985 to 2012 were reviewed. Patient characteristics, modes of Fontan failure/complication and death, and predictors for Fontan failure/complication and death were analyzed. Results: There were 23 early deaths (4.6%) and 17 late deaths (3.4%), with no early death since 2000. Survival has improved over time (p < 0.001). Twenty-three of 40 patients who died were identified as Fontan failure before death, including ventricular dysfunction (n = 14), pulmonary vascular dysfunction (n = 4), thromboembolism (n = 2), and arrhythmia (n = 4). Mode of death was circulatory failure (n = 18), multiorgan failure (n = 6), pulmonary failure (n = 3), cerebral/renal (n = 5), and sudden death (n = 4). Modes of failure/complication were directly (65%) or conceivably (10%) related to death in 30 of 40 patients (75%). Forty-eight percent of survivors had late Fontan complication(s). Five-year freedom from late Fontan complication was lower among patients who died compared with patients who survived (29.4% versus 53.3%, p < 0.001). Ventricular dysfunction (p = 0.001) and higher pulmonary artery pressures (p < 0.001) after Fontan were predictors for death. Longer cardiopulmonary bypass time (p = 0.032) and reinterventions (p < 0.001) were predictors for late Fontan complication. Conclusions: Early death in the early era has been overcome. Yet the incidence and causes of late death remain unchanged. There was a strong causative relationship between the mode of Fontan failure/complication and death, indicating the importance of early recognition and treatment of Fontan failure/complication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine