The modified Fontan procedure: Early and late results in 132 adult patients

Harold M. Burkhart, Joseph A. Dearani, Douglas D. Mair, Carole A. Warnes, Charles C. Rowland, Hartzell V. Schaff, Francisco J. Puga, Gordon K. Danielson, T. Spray, D. Drinkwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Objective: The modified Fontan procedure, usually performed in children, is used for the treatment of anomalies with a single functional ventricle. We reviewed our experience with the modified Fontan procedure performed in the adult patient. Methods: Between October 1973 and May 2001, the modified Fontan procedure was performed on 132 adult patients (74 men, 58 women). Median age was 23 years (range, 18 to 53 years). Diagnoses included tricuspid atresia in 34 patients (26%), double-inlet left ventricle in 48 (36%), and complex lesions in 50 (38%). The majority of patients (89%) had at least one prior palliative procedure; the most common procedures were Blalock-Taussig shunt in 85 patients and Glenn anastomosis in 31. Results: Operations included an atriopulmonary connection in 74 patients, lateral tunnel in 27, intra-atrial conduit in 14, right atrium-to-right ventricle in 9, extracardiac conduit in 3, and other in 5. Overall early mortality was 8.3%. Mortality was 6.5% for operations performed after 1980. This is comparable to the mortality of the modified Fontan procedure performed in children during the same time interval at our institution. All 7 of the early deaths since 1980 occurred in the complex lesion group. Morbidity included prolonged pleural effusion in 36 patients, atrial arrhythmias in 25, reoperation for bleeding in 13, permanent pacemaker in 8, and stroke in 2. Mean follow-up was 9.1 years with a maximum of 21.2 years. Actuarial survival for early survivors was 89% (84,95), 75% (67,84), and 68% (58,79) at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. Freedom from late reoperation was 89% (83,95), 85% (78,93), and 80% (70,91) at 5, 10 and 15 years, respectively. The majority (90%) of present survivors were New York Heart Association class I or II at follow-up. Conclusions: In properly selected adult patients with functional single ventricle, the modified Fontan procedure can be performed with early mortality similar to younger patients. Early mortality is more likely with complex lesions. The majority of late survivors have a good quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1252-1258
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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