Thromboembolic Risk After Atriopulmonary, Lateral Tunnel, and Extracardiac Conduit Fontan Surgery

Alliance for Adult Research in Congenital Cardiology (AARCC)

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35 Scopus citations


Background: Thromboembolic events contribute greatly to morbidity and mortality following Fontan surgery for univentricular hearts. Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the effect of type of Fontan surgery on thromboembolic risk. Methods: A North American multicenter retrospective cohort study enrolled 522 patients with Fontan palliation consisting of an atriopulmonary connection (APC) (21.4%), lateral tunnel (LT) (41.8%), or extracardiac conduit (EC) (36.8%). Thromboembolic complications and new-onset atrial arrhythmia were reviewed and classified by a blinded adjudicating committee. Thromboembolic risk across surgical techniques was assessed by multivariable competing-risk survival regression. Results: Over a median follow-up of 11.6 years, 10- and 20-year freedom from Fontan conversion, transplantation, or death was 94.7% and 78.9%, respectively. New-onset atrial arrhythmias occurred in 4.4, 1.2, and 1.0 cases per 100 person-years with APC, LT, and EC, respectively. APC was associated with a 2.82-fold higher risk of developing atrial arrhythmias (p < 0.001), with no difference between LT and EC (p = 0.95). A total of 71 thromboembolic events, 32 systemic and 39 venous, occurred in 12.8% of subjects, for an overall incidence of 1.1%/year. In multivariable analyses, EC was independently associated with a lower risk of systemic (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.20 vs. LT; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.04 to 0.97) and combined (HR: 0.34 vs. LT; 95% CI: 0.13 to 0.91) thromboembolic events. A lower incidence of combined thromboembolic events was also observed with antiplatelet agents (HR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.32 to 0.92) but not anticoagulation (p = 0.53). Conclusions: The EC Fontan was independently associated with a lower thromboembolic risk after controlling for time-varying effects of atrial arrhythmias and thromboprophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1081
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 27 2019


  • Fontan procedure
  • atrial arrhythmia
  • single ventricle
  • thromboembolism
  • thromboprophylaxis univentricular heart

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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