Five- to fifteen-year follow-up after Fontan operation

David J. Driscoll, Kenneth P. Offord, Robert H. Feldt, Hartzell V. Schaff, Francisco J. Puga, Gordon K. Danielson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

452 Scopus citations


Background. The purpose of this study was to estimate survival and quality of outcome and assess factors associated with outcome for patients out 5 to 15 years from their Fontan operation. Methods and Results. We studied 352 patients who had the Fontan operation prior to 1985. The overall 1-, 5-, and 10-year survival was 77%, 70%, and 60%, respectively. The following factors were significantly associated with lower survival: univentricular heart or complex congenital anomalies other than tricuspid atresia, early calendar year of operation, heterotaxia syndromes, early age at operation, increased pulmonary artery pressure, atrioventricular valve dysfunction, and higher (worse) New York Heart Association class; Reoperations were necessary for 103 of the 352 patients. At least 20% of the survivors have or have had cardiac arrhythmias requiring antiarrhythmic medication or mechanical pacemaker insertion. Between 7% and 10% of the patients have had or had protein-losing enteropathy/hypoproteinemia. At 5 years postoperatively, 122 patients (34.7%) were alive with a better New York Heart Association functional classification than preoperativeiy. Fifty-eight patients (16.5%) were alive and in the same functional classification, but 126 (35.8%) died within the first 5 years or were in a worse functional classification. Thirty-nine patients were doing excellently and 29 patients poorly 5 years after the operation. Of the surviving patients, 43% can do as much exercise as their peers, whereas 3% are incapable of exercise. Conclusions. To assure good functional long-term outcome in addition to survival, clinicians must exclude from selection for Fontan operation patients known to be at high risk for death or poor outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-496
Number of pages28
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992


  • Congenital heart disease
  • Modified Fontan operation
  • Single ventricle
  • Surgery
  • Univentricular heart

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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