Methods of palliating critical pulmonary oligemia in neonates with complex cyanotic congenital heart disease continue to evolve. Pulmonary artery distortion and other complications of the use of native vessels to increase pulmonary blood flow has led to the more frequent use of polytetrafluorethylene shunts either in a central position or as a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt. Central aorta-pulmonary artery shunts have largely fallen into disfavor because of previously reported unacceptably high incidences of complications such as shunt thrombosis, congestive heart failure, and pulmonary artery distortion. This report details our experience palliating 23 neonates with pulmonary atresia or severe pulmonary stenosis by placing central aorta-pulmonary artery shunts utilizing a short segment (<1 cm) of polytetrafluoroethylene. Although three of the 23 died postoperatively, none of the 23 patients had evidence of shunt thrombosis. Congestive heart failure, a potential complication of any pulmonary artery shunt, was present in eight of the 20 survivors but did not require shunt takedown and was readily controlled by digoxin. Repeat catheterization was performed in 12 patients; pulmonary angiography showed good growth of both pulmonary arteries and there was no evidence of pulmonary artery hypertension. Although minor pulmonary artery distortion was present in two patients, this distortion was centrally located and easily remedied at the time of total correction. Thus we have found the central aorta-pulmonary artery shunt to be an extremely effective and reliable means of palliating pulmonary artery hypoplasia as a result of pulmonary atresia or severe pulmonary stenosis in neonates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine