Does routine fenestration improve early and late postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing Fontan palliation?

Toncu A, Rădulescu CR, Dorobanţu D, Stoica Ș.Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2020 May 1;30(5):773-779. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivaa002.PMID: 32243525



A best evidence topic in cardiac surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was: ‘In [patients undergoing Fontan palliation] does [fenestration] affect [early and late postoperative outcomes]?’ Altogether 509 papers were found using the reported search, of which 11 papers represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these papers are tabulated. Current data suggest that the use of fenestration has advantages in the immediate postoperative course, with fewer complications such as pleural effusions, shorter hospitalization and decreased early Fontan failure, but comparable long-term outcomes to a non-fenestrated approach. Fenestration should be used in high-risk patients or based on the haemodynamic parameters measured before weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass. Routine use may potentially lead to additional late fenestration closure procedures in some patients, without improving long-term outcomes.