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1.  Performance of Cavopulmonary Palliation at Elevated Altitude 
Circulation  2008;118(14 Suppl):S177-S181.
Outcomes of patients undergoing cavopulmonary palliation for single ventricle physiology may be impacted by living at altitude, as the passive pulmonary circulation is dependent on the resistance of the pulmonary vascular bed. The objective of this study is to identify risk factors for failure of cavopulmonary palliation at elevated altitude.
Methods and Results
Between January 1995 and March 2007, 122 consecutive patients living at a mean altitude of 1600 m (range 305 to 2570) underwent a bidirectional Glenn (BDG). There was one in-hospital mortality and 7 late deaths. 52 have proceeded to the Fontan procedure. Survival after BDG was 92.4% at 5 years. Freedom from palliation failure, defined as death, transplant, BDG/Fontan takedown, or revision was 81% at 5 years. At a mean follow-up of 39.8 months, 90 patients (75%) were in New York Heart Association class I. Patients with failing cavopulmonary circulation had higher pre-BDG pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) (18.3±6.1 mm Hg versus 14.8±5.1 mm Hg, P=0.016) and higher pre-BDG transpulmonary gradient (TPG) (11.2±6.2 mm Hg versus 7.7±4.3 mm Hg, P=0.014). Post-BDG, patients with palliation failure had increased PAP (15.0±5.7 mm Hg versus 10.8±2.8 mm Hg, P=0.008) and indexed pulmonary vascular resistance (PVRI) (2.43±1.0 Wood U · m2 versus 1.52±0.9 Wood U · m2, P=0.007).
The majority of patients at moderate altitude have favorable outcomes after BDG or Fontan palliation. Risk factors for palliation failure at elevated altitude include PAP >15 mm Hg, TPG >8 mm Hg, and PVRI >2.5 Wood U · m2.
PMCID: PMC3129266  PMID: 18824752
Fontan procedure; single ventricle; altitude
2.  Outcomes of Reparative and Transplantation Strategies for Multilevel Left Heart Obstructions With Mitral Stenosis 
The Annals of thoracic surgery  2008;86(4):1305-1310.
Conventional management for multilevel left heart obstructions and mitral stenosis (Shone’s complex) involves multiple operations that carry additive risks. This study reviews our experience with reconstructive and transplantation approaches for Shone’s complex.
Between 1987 and 2007, 43 patients with mitral stenosis and one or more left-sided obstructions were identified: supramitral ring (n = 13), subaortic stenosis (n = 25), aortic stenosis (n = 24), hypoplastic arch (n = 20), and coarctation (n = 38). Thirty patients underwent a staged reparative approach, including 27 mitral and 51 left ventricular outflow tract operations. Thirteen patients were referred for transplantation. Patients with severe hypoplasia of the left ventricle were excluded.
There was one in-hospital death (2.5%) and six late deaths (14.2%). Actuarial 5- and 10-year survival for staged surgical and transplantation was 88% vs 61.3% and 83.1% vs 61.3% (p = 0.035). At a mean follow-up of 7.9 years, freedom from mitral reoperation was 83.3% and freedom from reoperation for subaortic stenosis was 78.0%. Wait-list mortality was 13.3% (2 of 13). Wait-list time exceeding 90 days was an incremental risk factor for death after transplantation (p = 0.005).
Despite the challenges of a reparative strategy for Shone’s complex, favorable survival and durability outcomes can be expected. Heart transplantation, although avoiding the pitfalls of staged repair, confers increased risks from ongoing physiologic derangements due to uncorrected left heart inflow and outflow obstructions during the wait for donor heart availability.
PMCID: PMC3128450  PMID: 18805182
3.  Outcome of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Early Primary Graft Failure After Pediatric Heart Transplantation 
We sought to analyze the indications and outcome of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for early primary graft failure and determine its impact on long-term graft function and rejection risk.
Early post-operative graft failure requiring ECMO can complicate heart transplantation.
A retrospective review of all children requiring ECMO in the early period after transplantation from 1990 to 2007 was undertaken.
Twenty-eight (9%) of 310 children who underwent transplantation for cardiomyopathy (n = 5) or congenital heart disease (n = 23) required ECMO support. The total ischemic time was significantly longer for ECMO-rescued recipients compared with our overall transplantation population (276 ± 86 min vs. 242 ± 70 min, p < 0.01). The indication for transplantation, for ECMO support, and the timing of cannulation had no impact on survival. Hyperacute rejection was uncommon. Fifteen children were successfully weaned off ECMO and discharged alive (54%). Mean duration of ECMO was 2.8 days for survivors (median 3 days) compared with 4.8 days for nonsurvivors (median 5 days). There was 100% 3-year survival in the ECMO survivor group, with 13 patients (46%) currently alive at a mean follow-up of 8.1 ± 3.8 years. The graft function was preserved (shortening fraction 36 ± 7%), despite an increased number of early rejection episodes (1.7 ± 1.6 vs. 0.7 ± 1.3, overall transplant population, p < 0.05) and hemodynamically comprising rejection episodes (1.3 ± 1.9 vs. 0.7 ± 1.3, overall transplant population, p < 0.05).
Overall survival was 54%, with all patients surviving to at least 3 years after undergoing transplantation. None of the children requiring >4 days of ECMO support survived. Despite an increased number of early and hemodynamically compromising rejections, the long-term graft function is similar to our overall transplantation population.
PMCID: PMC3117294  PMID: 19679252
extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; child; heart transplantation; right-sided heart failure; left-sided heart failure; hypertension pulmonary
4.  Implications of incising the ventricular septum in double outlet right ventricle and in the Ross–Konno operation☆ 
Incision into the ventricular septum in complex biventricular repair is controversial, and has been blamed for impairing left ventricular function. This retrospective study evaluates the risk of a ventricular septal incision in patients undergoing double outlet right ventricle (DORV) repair and Ross–Konno procedure.
From January 2003 to September 2007, 11 patients with DORV had a ventricular septum (VS) incision and 12 DORV patients did not. Sixteen patients had a Ross–Konno, and 16 had an isolated Ross procedure. The ventricular septal incision was made to match at least the diameter of a normal aortic annulus. In DORV, the VSD was enlarged superiorly and to the left. In the Ross–Konno, the aortic annulus was enlarged towards the septum posteriorly and to the left.
The median follow-up for the study is 19 months (1 month–4 years). For DORV, there were no significant differences in discharge mortality ( p = 0.22), late mortality ( p = 0.48), or late mortality plus heart transplant ( p = 0.093). Although patients with DORV and VSD enlargement have a more complex postoperative course, there were no differences in ECMO use ( p = 0.093), occurrence of permanent AV block ( p = 0.55), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ( p = 0.40), or shortening fraction (LVSF) ( p = 0.50). Similarly, for the Ross–Konno there were no significant differences in discharge mortality ( p = 0.30), late mortality ( p = NS), LVEF (p = 0.90) and LVSF ( p = 0.52) compared to the Ross, even though the Ross–Konno patients were significantly younger ( p < 0.0001).
Making a ventricular septal incision in DORV repair and in the Ross–Konno operation does not increase mortality and does not impair the LV function. The restriction of the VSD remains an important issue in the management of complex DORV. These encouraging results need to be confirmed by larger series.
PMCID: PMC3117298  PMID: 19269838
Double outlet right ventricle; Ventricular septal defect; Ross–Konno
5.  Long-Term Outcome of Palliation with Internal Pulmonary Artery Bands After Primary Heart Transplantation for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 
Pediatric cardiology  2009;30(4):419-425.
The purpose of this study was to describe the long-term outcome of infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) who underwent placement of internal pulmonary artery bands as part of a transcatheter palliation procedure followed by primary heart transplantation. Transcatheter palliation included stenting of the ductus arteriosus, decompression of the left atrium by atrial septostomy, and internal pulmonary artery band placement. Cardiac hemodynamics, pulmonary artery architecture, and pulmonary artery growth since transplantation are described. Nine infants with HLHS had internal pulmonary artery bands placed and underwent successful heart transplant. No infant required reconstruction of the pulmonary arteries at the time of transplant. At 1 year after transplant, all of the recipients had normal mean pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance, and transpulmonary gradient. Pulmonary angiography performed at 1 year after transplant demonstrated no distortion of pulmonary artery anatomy with significant interval growth of the branch pulmonary arteries. There was 100% survival to hospital discharge after transplant in this cohort of infants. Transcatheter placement of internal pulmonary artery bands for HLHS offers protection of the pulmonary vascular bed while preserving pulmonary artery architecture and growth with good long-term outcome.
PMCID: PMC3117302  PMID: 19365660
Congenital heart disease; Heart catheterization; Heart transplant; Infant

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