This study sought to investigate changes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ventricular volumes and vascular dimensions before hemi-Fontan (HF) and before total cavopulmonary connection (TCPC) in children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).
The systemic right ventricle (RV) in HLHS is subject to significant changes in volume loading throughout the surgical stages of palliation, particularly after the HF.
Fifty-eight patients had paired pre-HF and pre-TCPC MRI for assessment of changes of RV volumes, neoaortic flow, and vascular dimensions.
Comparison of pre-HF and pre-TCPC MRI results showed a decrease of indexed RV end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume (98 ml/m2 to 87 ml/m2 and 50 ml/m2 to 36 ml/m2, respectively) with stroke volume remaining constant (49 ml/m2 vs. 51 ml/m2), leading to an increased RV ejection fraction (51% vs. 59%). These findings persisted after excluding the 3 patients who underwent tricuspid valve repair as part of their HF procedure. Indexed RV end-diastolic volume plotted against neoaortic stroke volume demonstrated a Frank-Starling–like curve that shifted upward after HF. The indexed distal left and right cross-sectional pulmonary artery areas were reduced after HF.
In HLHS, serial MRI shows the adaptation of the systemic RV after HF with volume reduction in the context of a preserved stroke volume and an increased ejection fraction. The staged palliation in HLHS may be a risk factor particularly for reduced left pulmonary artery growth in itself as no factors investigated in this study were found to significantly impact on this.