Objective: The morphologic characteristics of the pulmonary circulation vary widely in patients with pulmonary atresia, ventricular septal defect, and major aortopulmonary collaterals. Although we favor single-stage unifocalization and complete repair as the procedure of choice, a subgroup of patients who meet specific criteria have been treated with initial surgical creation of an aortopulmonary window. Methods: Eighteen patients who were considered unsuitable candidates for singlestage repair underwent surgical creation of an aortopulmonary window. Selection criteria included the following: (1) presence of centrally confluent true pulmonary arteries 1.0 to 2.5 mm in diameter, with a well-developed peripheral arborization pattern; (2) multiple small aortopulmonary collateral vessels, most of which communicated with the true pulmonary arterial system; and (3) the presence of marked cyanosis. Results: There were no early deaths, and the 2 late deaths were both unrelated to the procedure. Follow-up angiography (n = 17) demonstrated good growth of true pulmonary arteries in 15 of 17 cases (88%). Mean pulmonary artery diameter increased from 1.76 mm to 3.45 mm. Subsequent operations have been performed in 15 of 18 cases (83%). Intracardiac repair with or without additional unifocalization was achieved in 8 of these 15 (53%). Seven patients (47%) have undergone staged unifocalization as the next procedure; of these, 3 were able to have intracardiac repair. Thus 11 of the 15 patients who have undergone second operations (73%) have had complete intracardiac repair. Conclusions: The initial surgical creation of an aortopulmonary window in carefully selected patients can increase the size of the true pulmonary arteries, making these patients better candidates for eventual intracardiac repair. The procedure should be avoided in patients with pulmonary overcirculation, a predominance of isolated supply collaterals, or true pulmonary arteries larger than 2.5 mm in diameter, and it is not applicable without a true pulmonary artery central confluence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine