Effect of Fontan Fenestration on Regional Venous Oxygen Saturation During Exercise: Further Insights Into Fontan Fenestration Closure
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Fontan fenestration closure is a topic of great debate. The body of data regarding the risks and benefits of fenestration closure is limited yet growing. Previous studies have demonstrated that Fontan patients have less exercise capacity than those with normal cardiovascular anatomy. Differences also have been noted within various subgroups of Fontan patients such as whether Fontan is fenestrated or not. This study aimed to compare trends in regional oxygen saturations using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in patients with Fontan circulations during ramping exercise to further delineate differences between patients with and without a fenestration. It was hypothesized that Fontan patients with fenestrations have better exercise times, higher absolute regional oxygen venous saturations, and smaller arteriovenous differences than Fontan patients without fenestrations. For this study, 50 consecutive Fontan patients and 51 consecutive patients with normal cardiovascular anatomy were recruited. Placement of NIRS probes was performed to obtain regional oxygen saturations from the brain and the kidney. Readings were obtained at 1-min intervals during rest, exercise, and recovery. A standard Bruce protocol was used with a 5-min recovery period. Absolute regional tissue oxygenation values (rSO2) and arterial-venous oxygen saturation differences (AVDO2) calculated as arterial oxygen saturation (SPO2)—rSO2 for normal versus Fontan patients and for fenestrated versus unfenestrated Fontan patients were compared using independent t tests. When normal and Fontan patients were compared, the Fontan patients had a significantly shorter duration of exercise (9.3 vs 13.2 min; p < 0.001). No statistically significant difference in rSO2 change or AVDO2 was evident at the time of peak exercise, at 2 min into the recovery, or at 5 min into the recovery. A small oxygen debt also was paid back to the brain in the Fontan patients after exercise, as evidenced by a narrower AVDO2 than at baseline. The comparison of Fontan patients with and without fenestration showed no statistically significant difference in exercise time, rSO2 change, or AVDO2. The Fontan patients were noted to have shorter exercise times than the normal patients and also appeared to have an alteration in postexertional regional blood flow. However, when the various Fontan subtypes were compared by presence or absence of a fenestration, no significant differences were noted with regard to change in regional oxygen saturation or arteriovenous oxygen saturation. Thus, for patients with Fontan physiology, closure of the fenestration does not seem to have an impact on the dynamics of regional oxygen extraction during exercise or recovery.