Ventricular-Arterial Function and Coupling in the Adult Fontan Circulation

Hirofumi Saiki, Benjamin W. Eidem, Tomohito Ohtani, Martha A. Grogan, Margaret M. Redfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: In adult Fontan patients, ventricular or arterial dysfunction may impact homeostasis of the Fontan circulation and predispose to heart failure. We sought to characterize ventricular-arterial (VA) properties in adult Fontan patients. Methods and Results: Adult Fontan patients (n=170), including those with right (SRV, n=57) and left (SLV, n=113) dominant ventricular morphology, were compared to age, sex, and body size matched controls (n=170). Arterial function, load-insensitive measures of contractility, VA coupling, diastolic function, and ventricular efficiency were assessed. Compared to controls, Fontan patients had similar arterial (Ea), but lower end-systolic ventricular (Ees), elastance, preload recruitable stroke work and peak power index, impaired VA coupling, eccentric remodeling, reduced ventricular efficiency and increased diastolic stiffness (P<0.05 for all). Ventricular efficiency declined steeply with higher heart rate in Fontan, but not control, patients. Among Fontan patients (n=123) and controls (n=162) with preserved cardiac index (CI; ≥2.5 L/min per m2), Fontan patients had worse contractility than controls, but CI was preserved owing to relative tachycardia, lower afterload, and eccentric remodeling. However, 25% of Fontan patients had reduced CI and were distinguished from those with preserved CI by less-eccentric remodeling and worse diastolic function, rather than more-impaired contractility. Conclusions: Adult Fontan patients have contractile and diastolic dysfunction with normal afterload, impaired VA coupling, and reduced ventricular efficiency with heightened sensitivity to heart rate. Maintenance of CI is dependent on lower afterload, eccentric remodeling, and relative preservation of diastolic function. These data contribute to our understanding of circulatory physiology in adult Fontan patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere003887
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Adult Fontan circulation
  • Single ventricular heart
  • Ventricular arterial coupling
  • Ventricular efficiency
  • Ventricular function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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