Redefining expectations of long-term survival after the Fontan procedure: twenty-five years of follow-up from the entire population of Australia and New Zealand. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The life expectancy of patients undergoing a Fontan procedure is unknown. METHODS AND RESULTS: Follow-up of all 1006 survivors of the 1089 patients who underwent a Fontan procedure in Australia and New Zealand was obtained from a binational population-based registry including all pediatric and adult cardiac centers. There were 203 atriopulmonary connections (AP; 1975-1995), 271 lateral tunnels (1988-2006), and 532 extracardiac conduits (1997-2010). The proportion with hypoplastic left heart syndrome increased from 1/173 (1%) before 1990 to 80/500 (16%) after 2000. Survival at 10 years was 89% (84%-93%) for AP and 97% (95% confidence interval [CI], 94%-99%) for lateral tunnels and extracardiac conduits. The longest survival estimate was 76% (95% CI, 67%-82%) at 25 years for AP. AP independently predicted worse survival compared with extracardiac conduits (hazard ratio, 6.2; P<0.001; 95% CI, 2.4-16.0). Freedom from failure (death, transplantation, takedown, conversion to extracardiac conduits, New York Heart Association III/IV, or protein-losing enteropathy/plastic bronchitis) 20 years after Fontan was 70% (95% CI, 63%-76%). Hypoplastic left heart syndrome was the primary predictor of Fontan failure (hazard ratio, 3.8; P<0.001; 95% CI, 2.0-7.1). Ten-year freedom from failure was 79% (95% CI, 61%-89%) for hypoplastic left heart syndrome versus 92% (95% CI, 87%-95%) for other morphologies. CONCLUSIONS: The long-term survival of the Australia and New Zealand Fontan population is excellent. Patients with an AP Fontan experience survival of 76% at 25 years. Technical modifications have further improved survival. Patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at higher risk of failure. Large, comprehensive registries such as this will further improve our understanding of late outcomes after the Fontan procedure.


  • d'Udekem, Y
  • Iyengar, AJ
  • Galati, JC
  • Forsdick, V
  • Weintraub, RG
  • Wheaton, GR
  • Bullock, A
  • Justo, RN
  • Grigg, LE
  • Sholler, GF
  • Hope, S
  • Radford, DJ
  • Gentles, TL
  • Celermajer, DS
  • Winlaw, DS

publication date

  • 2014

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