Risk Factors for Failure of Systemic-to-Pulmonary Artery Shunts in Biventricular Circulation

Keti Vitanova, Cornelius Leopold, Jelena Pabst von Ohain, Cordula Wolf, Elisabeth Beran, Rüdiger Lange, Julie Cleuziou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Systemic-to-pulmonary artery shunt placement is an established palliative procedure for congenital heart disease, but it is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Data of all patients with biventricular circulation who underwent systemic-to-pulmonary artery shunt implantation between 2000 and 2016 were reviewed. Endpoints of the study were shunt failure and shunt-related mortality. Shunt failure was defined as any shunt dysfunction requiring intervention or reoperation. Shunt-related mortality was defined as death due to shunt dysfunction. A total of 217 shunts (central shunt, n = 131, Blalock-Taussig shunt, n = 86) were implanted in 178 patients. The median age of the patients was 98 days [1 day to 1.2 years]. Corrective surgery was performed at a median time of 0.6 years [3 months to 7 years] after shunt placement. Shunt failure was diagnosed in 21 patients (9.6%) at a median time of 14.6 days [0 days to 2 years]. Causes of shunt failure were stenosis (n = 11; 5%) and thrombosis (n = 10; 4.6%). The rate of freedom from shunt failure was 89.9 ± 2.6% at 1 year, the rate of shunt-related mortality was 3% (n = 5), and the rate of freedom from shunt-related mortality at 1 year was 97.5 ± 1%. Platelet transfusion was required in 43 patients (20%), all for postoperative thrombocytopenia. Perioperative platelet transfusion (p = 0.03) and shunt size of 3 mm (p = 0.03) were identified as risk factors for shunt failure. Shunt size of 3 mm was also identified as a risk factor for shunt-related mortality. The ideal shunt size in patients with biventricular circulation requiring a systemic-to-pulmonary artery shunt is 3.5 mm or larger. Platelet transfusion increases the risk of shunt failure and should be avoided. Type of shunt and diagnosis have no influence on morbidity or mortality after shunt placement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1323-1329
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Palliation in biventricular hearts
  • Risk factors for shunt failure
  • Shunt procedure


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