Reoperations and survival after primary repair of congenital heart defects in children

James L. Monro, Christos Alexiou, Anthony P. Salmon, Barry R. Keeton, Marshall L. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this article is to evaluate the incidence of reoperation and the associated risk and survival after primary repair of congenital heart defects using cardiopulmonary bypass in children. Methods: We present a retrospective analysis of 1220 consecutive children under 16 years [649 (53%) under 1 year] operated on between 1976 and 2001 by 1 surgeon (J.L.M.). Results: The early (30-day) mortality was 6.9%; 171 patients had 206 reoperations. The early mortality for the first reoperation was 10.4% and for second reoperation, 3.8%. Of the first-time reoperations 63% were inevitable, 15% were planned, and 22% were unexpected. The overall 20-year freedom from reoperation was 83% and survival (including early mortality) was 86%. The 10-year freedom from reoperation and survival, respectively, was as follows: aortic valvotomy, 77% and 92%; pulmonary valvotomy, 90% and 95%; atrial septal defect, 99% and 100%; partial atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD), 81% and 94%; complete AVSD, 74% and 70%; VSD, 95% and 97%; double-outlet right ventricle, 66% and 68%; truncus arteriosus, 54% and 71%; Mustard, 85% and 86%; arterial switch, 78% and 74%; Fontan, 77% and 66%; Fallot, 91% and 93%; and total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage, 89% and 84%. Of those undergoing aortic valvotomy, 53% were infants, but when aortic valve replacement became necessary an adult valve could be inserted. Introduction of the total cavopulmonary connection to the Fontan procedure in 1990 with prior cavopulmonary anastomoses has greatly improved outcome, with only 1 reoperation and no deaths since then. Patients with AVSD required 12 reoperations for mitral regurgitation, mostly through the "cleft," the closure of which in the past 5 years has provided promising results. Conclusions: The majority of reoperations after repair of congenital heart defects in children are inevitable, and their incidence varies for different types of procedures. These findings will help in informing parents about the possible outcome of surgery, but the introduction of newer techniques may reduce the need for reoperation further. The survival is encouraging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-519
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Reoperations and survival after primary repair of congenital heart defects in children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this