Postoperative arrhythmia in patients with bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis

Reichlin, Alessandra ; Prêtre, René ; Dave, Hitendu ; Hug, Maja I. ; Gass, Matthias ; Balmer, Christian

In: European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 2014, vol. 45, no. 4, p. 620-624

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    OBJECTIVES Bidirectional cavopulmonary anastomosis (BDCPA) is part of the staged Fontan palliation for congenital heart defects with single-ventricle morphology. The aim of this study was to describe incidence and characteristics of early postoperative arrhythmias in patients undergoing BDCPA. METHODS Retrospective analysis of 60 patients undergoing BDCPA at the age of <12 months from 2001 to 2008 at a single centre. Arrhythmias were subclassified in sinus bradycardia, premature atrial/ventricular contraction, supraventricular tachycardia and atrioventricular block. The groups were compared according to age at operation and diagnosis. Postoperative follow-up data were included until Fontan completion. RESULTS Postoperative arrhythmia was observed in 20 patients: 12 temporary and 8 persisting until hospital discharge. Sinus bradycardia is a common postoperative arrhythmia and occurred in 16 patients (9 transient, 7 persistent until hospital discharge). One patient undergoing BDCPA and a Damus-Kaye-Stansel procedure had a persisting first-degree atrioventricular block. The occurrence of a postoperative arrhythmia was independent of age and diagnostic group (hypoplastic left heart vs non-hypoplasic left heart). After hospital discharge, five of the eight arrhythmia resolved spontaneously resulting in 2 patients with sinus bradycardia and 1 patient with a first-degree AV block immediately before the Fontan completion was undertaken. CONCLUSIONS Postoperative arrhythmias in patients with BDCPA occur early after surgery and are temporary. Severe and life-threatening arrhythmias are rare although the interventions are complex and the patients very young. The most common arrhythmia is sinus bradycardia