Impact of hemodynamics and fluid energetics on liver fibrosis after Fontan operation

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Abstract

Objective:

The staged Fontan procedure has shown promising short-term outcomes in patients with single ventricles. However, Fontan-associated liver disease is a marked problem as patients age. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between hemodynamics and liver fibrosis in patients undergoing the Fontan.

Methods:

A total of 33 patients undergoing the Fontan with liver fibrosis were included in this study. Cardiac magnetic resonance and phase-contrast cardiac magnetic resonance data, as well as catheterization measurements and liver biopsies, were obtained for each patient. Computational fluid dynamic simulations were performed to quantify total cavopulmonary connection hemodynamics using patient-specific anatomies and blood flow waveforms reconstructed from cardiac magnetic resonance data. Collagen deposition (as a measure of liver fibrosis) was quantified by digital image analysis of Sirius Red stained slides. Statistical analyses were performed to investigate potential relationships between liver fibrosis and Fontan hemodynamics.

Results:

Liver fibrosis was found to be related to global metrics (inferior vena cava flow, ventricle power output) rather than to local total cavopulmonary connection hemodynamics and efficiency. Indexed inferior vena cava flow showed a significant, positive correlation with liver fibrosis (rho = 0.624, P < .001). Upper and lower Sirius Red tertile comparisons showed a significant difference in indexed inferior vena cava flow (P = .008).

Conclusions:

Significant increases in inferior vena cava flow consistent with fibrosis induced arterialization and ventricular power output suggest a burden being placed on the single ventricle from liver fibrosis. Local total cavopulmonary connection flow dynamics do not seem to influence the degree of fibrosis. Favorable total cavopulmonary connection hemodynamics may not be enough to overcome the power shortage and elevated venous pressures inherent to a Fontan circulation.

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