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Pregnancy and delivery in women after Fontan palliation


Objectives: To evaluate the outcome of pregnancy in women after Fontan palliation and to assess the occurrence of infertility and menstrual cycle disorders.

Design and patients: Two congenital heart disease registries were used to investigate 38 female patients who had undergone Fontan palliation (aged 18–45 years): atriopulmonary anastomosis (n  =  23), atrioventricular connection (n  =  5) and total cavopulmonary connection (n  =  10).

Results: Six women had 10 pregnancies, including five miscarriages (50%) and one aborted ectopic pregnancy. During the remaining four live-birth pregnancies clinically significant complications were encountered: New York Heart Association class deterioration; atrial fibrillation; gestational hypertension; premature rupture of membranes; premature delivery; fetal growth retardation and neonatal death. Four of seven women who had attempted to become pregnant reported female infertility: non-specified secondary infertility (n  =  2), uterus bicornis (n  =  1) and related to endometriosis (n  =  1). Moreover, several important menstrual cycle disorders were documented. In particular, the incidence of primary amenorrhoea was high (n  =  15, 40%), which resulted in a significant increase in age at menarche (14.6 (SD 2.1) years, p < 0.0001, compared with the general population).

Conclusion: Women can successfully complete pregnancy after adequate Fontan palliation without important long-term sequelae, although it is often complicated by clinically significant (non-)cardiac events. In addition, subfertility or infertility and menstrual disorders were common.

  • CONCOR, CONgenital CORvitia
  • CS, caesarean section
  • NYHA, New York Heart Association
  • TCPC, total cavopulmonary connection

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