16.07.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 7/2016
The Risk of Thromboembolic Complications in Fontan Patients with Atrial Flutter/Fibrillation Treated with Electrical Cardioversion
- Jiuann-Huey I. Lin, Adam C. Kean, Timothy M. Cordes
Atrial flutter or fibrillation (AFF) remains a major chronic complication of the Fontan procedure. This complication further predisposes this patient population to thromboembolic events. However, the incidence of thromboembolic complications in Fontan patients with AFF prior to or acutely after electrical cardioversion is unknown. This study aimed to characterize the risk of post-cardioversion thromboembolic events in this population. We performed a retrospective medical record review of all patients with a history of Fontan operation treated with direct current cardioversion for AFF at Riley Children’s Hospital between June 1992 and March 2014. A total of 57 patients were identified and reviewed. A total of 216 episodes of AFF required electrical cardioversion. Patients were treated with anticoagulation/antiplatelet therapy in 86.1 % (N = 186) of AFF episodes. Right atrial or Fontan conduit clots were observed in 33 patients (57.9 %) with 61 episodes of AFF. Approximately half (49.2 %, N = 30) of these episodes were treated immediately with electrical cardioversion. Twenty-five of 33 (75.8 %) patients with intracardiac thrombi had an atriopulmonary Fontan. Five (15.2 %) patients with a lateral caval tunnel had clots in the Fontan conduit, and three (9.1 %) patients with right atrium to right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) connections presented with right atrial mural thrombi. Nine of the 57 (15.8 %) patients had documented stroke, and three (5.3 %) patients had pulmonary emboli during follow-up, although none of these emboli were associated with electrical cardioversion. The risk of thrombus and thromboembolism associated with AFF is high in the Fontan population. However, the risk of thromboembolism associated with cardioversion in the setting of anticoagulation is very low.