OBJECTIVE--To assess the clinical condition of patients and the adequacy of their newly constructed venous pathways after the Senning operation for simple transposition of the great arteries. PATIENTS AND DESIGN--All 34 patients who had the Senning operation between March 1983 and December 1986 were reviewed. Survivors had detailed cardiac catheterisation studies one to two years later and clinical evaluation two to six years after surgery. RESULTS--There were two operative deaths (6%), one sudden late death (after two years), and 31 survivors (91%). No clinical evidence of obstructed venous pathways was found and there was no need for reoperation for any reason. The average mean (SD) pressure gradient at the junction of the superior vena cava and systemic venous atrium was 2.0 (1.7) mm Hg, although two patients had gradients of 7 mm Hg. The average gradient was 0.7 (1) mm Hg in the inferior vena caval pathway, and 1.4 (1.1) mm Hg between the mean pulmonary arterial wedge and pulmonary venous atrial pressures. Only the two patients with gradients of 7 mm Hg at the junction of the superior vena cava and the systemic venous atrium had considerable narrowing of the pathway and retrograde flow in the azygos vein to below the diaphragm. CONCLUSION--A small series of patients were comprehensively studied after the Senning operation for simple transposition of the great arteries. Scrupulous technique in the construction of the venous pathways has had excellent results with no need for reoperation for obstruction in either the systemic or pulmonary pathways. Clinical observation alone may fail to identify patients with venous pathway obstruction, therefore careful assessment is required, even in patients who are physically normal.
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