Lymphatic Decompression Concomitant With Fontan/Kreutzer Procedure: Early Experience

Kreutzer C, Klinger DA, Chiostri B, Sendoya S, Daneri ML, Gutierrez A, Fraire RA, Torres SF.World J Pediatr Congenit Heart Surg. 2020 May;11(3):284-292. doi: 10.1177/2150135120905656.PMID: 32294012



Objective: To present a strategy for identifying patients at risk of lymphatic failure in the setting of planned Fontan/Kreutzer completion, allowing a tailored surgical approach.

Methods: Since January 2017, clinical evaluation before performance of the Fontan/Kreutzer procedure included T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lymphangiography. Thoracic lymphatic abnormalities were categorized using a scale of I to IV according to progression of severity. Patients with severe lymphatic abnormalities (types III and IV) underwent Fontan/Kreutzer with lymphatic decompression via connection of the left jugular-subclavian junction containing the thoracic duct to the systemic atrium (group A).

Results: Thirteen patients were enrolled. Magnetic resonance imaging showed type I abnormalities in four cases (30.7%), II in four (30.7%), III in two (15.3%), and IV in three (23.3%). Patients in types III and IV underwent a Fontan/Kreutzer with lymphatic decompression (group A, n = 5), while patients in types I and II underwent a fenestrated extracardiac Fontan/Kreutzer procedure without lymphatic decompression (group B, n = 8). Preoperatively, there were no differences in age, weight, ventricular dominance (right vs left), superior vena cava pressure, incidence of chylothorax after previous superior cavopulmonary anastomosis (Glenn), or need for concomitant procedures at Fontan/Kreutzer completion. There were no differences in procedural times between the groups, nor were there differences in mortalities and Fontan/Kreutzer takedowns. There were no statistically significant differences in early and late morbidity between the two groups with the exception of total volume of effusions output postoperatively. At median follow-up of 18 months (range, 4-28 months), all patients in group A are in New York Heart Association class 1 with no differences between groups in arterial oxygen saturation.

Conclusions: Lymphatic decompression during Fontan/Kreutzer procedure was successfully performed in patients identified by MRI as predisposed to lymphatic failure. A larger cohort of patients and longer follow-up are required to determine the efficacy of this approach in preventing early- and long-term Fontan/Kreutzer failure.