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Original research
Peripheral venous pressure changes during exercise are associated with adverse Fontan outcomes
  1. Kathleen Colman1,
  2. Tarek Alsaied1,
  3. Adam Lubert1,
  4. Harry B Rossiter2,
  5. Wayne A Mays1,
  6. Adam W Powell1,
  7. Sandra Knecht1,
  8. Danielle Poe1,
  9. Nicholas Ollberding1,
  10. Zhiqian Gao1,
  11. Clifford Chin1,
  12. Gruschen R Veldtman1
  1. 1Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  2. 2The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gruschen R Veldtman, Adult Congenital Heart Disease, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, AlRiyadh, Saudi Arabia; gruschen{at}


Objective Elevated central venous pressure (CVP) plays an important role in the development of adverse Fontan outcomes. Peripheral venous pressure (PVP) has been validated as a surrogate for CVP in Fontan patients. We hypothesised that PVP in response to exercise will be associated with a greater prevalence of Fontan morbidity.

Methods Adult Fontan patients had cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) with PVP monitoring in the upper extremity between 2015 and 2018. PVP at rest, during unloaded cycling and at peak exercise was compared between those with and without adverse Fontan outcomes including arrhythmia, unscheduled hospital admissions, heart failure requiring diuretics, need for reintervention and a composite outcome of the above morbidities, heart transplantation and death.

Results Forty-six patients with a mean age at CPET of 26.9±9.5 years. During exercise, PVP increased from 13.6±3.5 mm Hg at rest, to 16.5±3.9 mm Hg during unloaded cycling, to 23.0±5.5 mm Hg at peak exercise. Unloaded and peak PVP were more strongly associated than resting PVP with all adverse outcomes, except reintervention (composite outcome: resting PVP: OR 2.8, p=0.023; unloaded PVP: OR 6.1, p=0.001; peak PVP: OR 4.0, p<0.001). Cut-offs determined using ROC curve analysis had high specificity for the composite outcome (88% unloaded PVP ≥18 mm Hg; 89% peak PVP ≥25 mm Hg).

Conclusion Higher PVP at unloaded and peak exercise was strongly associated with a higher prevalence of adverse Fontan outcomes. Minimally invasive PVP monitoring during CPET may serve as a useful tool for risk stratifying individuals with a Fontan.

  • fontan physiology

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. The middle initial was added to Harry B Rossiter, and their affiliation was corrected to '

    The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA'

  • Contributors The corresponding author has the right to grant on behalf of all authors and does grant on behalf of all authors, an exclusive license (or non-exclusive for government employees) on a worldwide basis to the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and its Licensees to permit this article (if accepted) to be published in Heart editions and any other BMJPGL products to exploit all subsidiary rights.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCentre institutional committee on human research approved the study (ID 2018–2238).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. Deidentified participant data are available from the corresponding author.

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