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Orthotopic Heart and Combined Heart Liver Transplantation: the Ultimate Treatment Option for Failing Fontan Physiology.


Purpose of the review

This is a comprehensive update on failing Fontan physiology and the role of heart and combined heart and liver transplantation in the current era.

Recent findings

Single ventricle physiology encompasses a series of rare congenital cardiac abnormalities that are characterized by absence of or hypoplasia of one ventricle. This effectively results in a single ventricular pumping chamber. These abnormalities are rarely compatible with long-term survival if left without surgical palliation in the first few years of life. Surgical treatment of single ventricle physiology has evolved over the past 60 years and is characterized by numerous creative innovations. These include the development of arteriopulmonary shunts, the evolution of partial cavopulmonary connections, and the eventual development of the "Fontan" operation. Regardless of the type of Fontan modification, the long-term consequences of the Fontan operation are predominantly related to chronic central venous hypertension and the multi-organ consequences thereof. Atrial arrhythmias can further compromise this circulation.Patients with single ventricle physiology represent a special sub-segment of congenital cardiac transplants and are arguably the most challenging patients considered for transplantation.


This review describes in detail the challenges and opportunities of heart and liver transplantation in Fontan patients, as viewed and managed by the experienced team at the Ahmanson/UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Center.

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