The Fontan Operation is the standard treatment for patients with single ventricle heart congenital heart defects, in which there is effectively only one pumping chamber in the heart. Nearly 90% of Fontan procedure patients survive for at least 5 years after the operation, and nearly 80% live for 10 years or more. More recent forms of the Fontan procedure reduce the incidence of arrhythmias, improving the prognosis.
Difficulties that may arise over time for Fontan Operation survivors include ventricular dysfunction, atrioventricular (mitral or tricuspid) valve regurgitation, and obstructions to blood flow in the vessels or heart chambers that were modified by the procedure. In addition to potential cardiac problems, the enlargement of a patient's liver may be caused by high venous blood pressure.
The diagram illustrates two variations of the Fontan Operation, the Lateral Tunnel Fontan (left) and the Extracardiac Fontan (right).
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Congenital Heart Disease