Intermediate results of the extracardiac Fontan procedure

John C. Laschinger, J. Mark Redmond, Duke E. Cameron, Jean S. Kan, Richard E. Ringel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background. Fourteen children (ages 2 to 14 years) and 1 adult (32 years) have undergone a modification of the Fontan procedure in which an extracardiac lateral tunnel or conduit is used in combination with staged or simultaneous bidirectional Glenn shunt(s). Methods. Extracardiac lateral tunnels (n = 9) were constructed using a polytetrafluoroethylene patch (n = 7), pericardial patch (n = 1), or in situ pericardial flap (n = 1). Extracardiac lateral conduits (n = 6) were constructed using nonvalved homografts (n = 2) or polytetrafluoroethylene tube grafts (n = 4). Fenestrations were created in 4 patients (2 each in extracardiac lateral tunnel and extracardiac lateral conduit patients). Aortic crossclamping was completely avoided in 12/15 patients (aortic cross-clamping in 2 patients for atrial septal defect enlargement and 1 for Damus-Kaye-Stansel procedure). Results. There have been no operative deaths. Prolonged postoperative chest tube drainage (> 2 weeks) has been rare (n = 1). At follow-up (range, 6 to 54 months; mean, 27.5 months), all patients are in New York Heart Association class I or II and remain in normal sinus rhythm. Late protein-losing enteropathy was seen in 1 patient and was successfully treated by percutaneous creation of a stented fenestration from the extracardiac tunnel to the systemic atrium. Late catheterizations reveal unobstructed extracardiac lateral tunnel function and low pulmonary pressures (range, 11 to 13 mm Hg). Advantages of the extracardiac Fontan include (1) avoidance of aortic cross-clamping in most patients, (2) the hemodynamic benefits of total cavopulmonary connection, (3) avoidance of atriotomy and intraatrial suture lines, (4) preservation of sinus rhythm and no arthythmias at 2 year follow-up, (5) drainage of the coronary sinus to low pressure atrium, (6) allowance for early/late fenestrations, (7) prevention of battle leaks and intraatrial obstruction, and (8) allowance for growth (tunnel procedures only). Conclusions. We recommend this extracardiac procedure for all suitable patients undergoing surgical conversion to the Fontan circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1261-1267
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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