Identification of Risk Factors for Early Fontan Failure

Ellis Rochelson, Marc E. Richmond, Damien J. LaPar, Alejandro Torres, Brett R. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Despite improvements in operative and perioperative care, the risk of significant morbidity and mortality for children undergoing Fontan procedures persists. Previous investigations have identified peri-Fontan characteristics that may predict early adverse events. The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics from throughout a patient's lifespan, including all perioperative stages, that might predict early Fontan failure—defined as death, Fontan takedown, or listing for cardiac transplantation before hospital discharge or within 30 postoperative days. A single-center retrospective study of all patients undergoing a Fontan procedure was performed. Patient and intervention-related characteristics were examined from birth through Fontan. Data were described using standard summary statistics. Univariable, logistic regression was used to examine associations with early Fontan failure. In total, 191 patients met inclusion criteria. The incidence of early Fontan failure was 4% (n = 8: 6 deaths, 2 Fontan takedowns). Neonatal balloon atrial septostomy was the only patient characteristic significantly associated with Fontan failure. Patients who underwent balloon septostomy had 8.5 times higher odds of Fontan failure (confidence interval (CI) 2.6–28.1, P < 0.001) than those who did not. Children who require balloon septostomy as neonates remain at higher risk of Fontan takedown, listing for heart transplantation, or death in the early post-Fontan period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-528
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Balloon atrial septostomy
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Congenital heart surgery
  • Fontan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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