Insertion of extracardiac right ventricular (RV)-pulmonary artery (PA) conduits for repair of severe forms of RV-PA discontinuity has become a widely used technique. During a 10-year period, 76 patients had open heart repair with a porcine-valved RV-PA external conduit. The most common diagnoses were truncus arteriosus (15%) and pulmonary atresia with ventricular septal defect (15%). The patients were 18 days to 37 years old (median 7 years). The postoperative median follow-up period was 4 years. Four patients (8%) have been lost to follow-up. Nineteen patients (25%) died in the early postoperative period and there were 10 late deaths (13%). Calculated probability of survival was 66% at 8 years. Thirty-six patients have undergone late hemodynamic studies. A residual shunt was present in 14% of the patients; moderate to severe PA hypertension was present in 25% and significant RV-PA gradients (greater than 30 mm Hg) in 50%. The mean RV pressure for the group was 78.5 +/- 38 mm Hg. The severity of the gradients appeared to be greater in patients who had been followed longer. Ten patients have undergone reoperation because of conduit obstruction or residual shunting; 6 are alive and well. Of the surviving patients, 95% are acyanotic and without significant exercise intolerance and only 5% have cardiovascular symptoms. Thus, open heart repair using an external RV-PA conduit provides a marked improvement in the quality of life in patients who survive.
K. Vergesslich, W. Gersony, C. Steeg
The American journal of cardiology