Device management of arrhythmias after Fontan conversion

Sabrina Tsao, Barbara J. Deal, Carl L. Backer, Kendra Ward, Wayne H. Franklin, Constantine Mavroudis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives: We assessed our pacemaker strategy, use of antitachycardia therapies, generator longevity, and need for programming changes in patients having Fontan conversion with arrhythmia surgery. Methods: Between 1994 and 2008, of 121 consecutive patients having Fontan conversion and arrhythmia surgeries, 120 patients underwent pacemaker implantation at the time of Fontan conversion (mean age 22.9 ± 8.1 years). Prior pacemakers were in place in 32/120 (26.7%) patients. Between 1994 and 1998, single-chamber atrial antitachycardia pacemakers were implanted (n = 12); atrial rate-responsive pacemakers (n = 31) were implanted between 1998 and 2002. Dual-chamber rate-responsive pacemakers (n = 16) were used between 2002 and 2003, and subsequently dual-chamber antitachycardia pacemakers (n = 61) have become the pacemaker of choice. Leads have evolved from transatrial endocardial leads to epicardial unipolar and subsequently bipolar leads. Results: Among 87 patients with adequate follow-up, all are currently atrially paced at a minimum lower rate ≥70 beats per minute. Single-chamber atrial pacemakers were implanted in 43 (antitachycardia in 12), and dual-chamber pacemakers in 77 (antitachycardia in 61); multisite ventricular leads were placed in 7 patients. Far-field R-wave sensing in 78.6% of unipolar atrial leads led to use of epicardial bipolar leads. Late atrioventricular block (24%) led to routine implantation of dual-chamber pacemakers. Antitachycardia pacing was utilized in 7%. One patient required acute lead revision and 4 required late upgrade to dual-chamber pacemakers. There was no pacemaker-related infection. Twenty patients required generator change, and the mean device longevity was 7.53 years. Conclusions: Customized pacemaker therapy can optimize management of patients following Fontan conversion. Device longevity is excellent. Based on our experience with 120 Fontan conversions, we recommend placement of a dual-chamber antitachycardia pacemaker with bipolar steroid-eluting epicardial leads in all patients at the time of the conversion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-940
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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