Abnormal distribution of pulmonary blood flow after the Glenn shunt or Fontan procedure: risk of development of arteriovenous fistulae

A CloutierM Rabinovitch


Since the Fontan procedure results in low pulsatile pulmonary blood flow similar to that seen in patients with a Glenn shunt, it may also be associated with abnormal distribution of flow to the lower lung lobes and with the development of pulmonary arteriovenous fistulae (PAVF). In 12 patients 0.8 to 4.5 years after Fontan procedure and in 20 patients 0.2 to 18 years after receipt of Glenn shunts we assessed ventilation (with 133Xe) and perfusion (after a peripheral injection of 99mTc-macroaggregated albumin) to compare upper to lower lobe distribution of blood flow with that in a control group. The presence of PAVF was assessed by radionuclide activity in kidneys and the brain and by a two-dimensional echocardiographic contrast study. A decreased upper/lower lobe perfusion ratio was noted in 13 of 20 patients with Glenn shunts (65%) and correlated with the time after surgery (p less than .05). Despite the shorter follow-up period, two of 12 (16%) patients who had undergone the Fontan procedure also had a decreased upper/lower lobe perfusion ratio, and one of these developed right heart failure. Brain and kidney radionuclide counts above control values were observed in all patients with Glenn shunts and in 11 of 12 patients who...Continue Reading


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