Our aim was to examine the prevalence of arrhythmias and identify independent associations of time to arrhythmia development.
Since introduction of the Fontan operation in 1971, long term results have steadily improved with newer modifications. However, atrial arrhythmias are frequent and contribute to ongoing morbidity and mortality. Data are lacking regarding the prevalence of arrhythmias and risk factors for their development in the current era.
The Pediatric Heart Network Fontan Cross-Sectional Study evaluated data from 7 centers, with 520 patients aged 6–18 years (mean 8.6±3.4 years after the Fontan operation), including echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, exercise testing, parent-reported Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ) results, and medical history.
Supraventricular tachycardias were present in 9.4% of patients. Intra-atrial reentrant tachycardia (IART) was present in 7.3% (32/520). The hazard of IART decreased until 4–6 years post-Fontan, and then increased with age thereafter. Cardiac anatomy and resting heart rate (including marked bradycardia) were not associated with IART. We identified three independent associations of time to occurrence of IART: lower CHQ physical summary score (p<0.001); predominant rhythm (p=0.002; highest risk with paced rhythm), and type of Fontan operation (p=0.037; highest risk with atriopulmonary connection). Time to IART did not differ between patients with lateral tunnel and extracardiac conduit types of Fontan repair. Ventricular tachycardia was noted in 3.5% of patients.
Overall prevalence of IART was lower in this cohort (7.3%) than previously reported. Lower functional status, an atriopulmonary connection and paced rhythm were determined to be independently associated with development of IART after Fontan.