Canadian Journal of Cardiology

Evaluating the Prevalence and Factors Associated with an Optimal Neurodevelopmental Outcome in 4-6 Year-Old Children with Fontan Circulation

Published:October 27, 2022DOI:



      We sought to evaluate the prevalence and factors associated with “optimal” neurodevelopmental outcomes in 4-6 year-old children with Fontan circulation.


      Patients followed through the Western Canadian Complex Pediatric Therapies Follow-Up Program and born between September 1996 and December 2015 were included. Optimal neurodevelopmental outcome was defined as full-scale intelligence quotient, visual-motor integration, and adaptive behavior assessment system-general adaptive composite scores of ≥80 each, and the absence of chronic motor disability, permanent hearing loss, visual impairment, and seizure disorder. Multivariable regression models and decision algorithms evaluated variables associated with optimal outcomes.


      The Fontan procedure was completed on 225 children, with neurodevelopmental outcome data available for 205 (mean (SD) age at Fontan 3.4 (0.9) years, 37% female). Optimal neurodevelopmental outcome was identified in 55% (112/205). Factors independently associated with optimal neurodevelopmental outcome were female sex [odds ratio (OR) 2.1 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-4.1)], years of maternal schooling [OR 1.2 (1.1-1.4)], age at Fontan (years) [OR 0.97 (0.94-1.0)], need for concomitant atrioventricular valve (AVV) intervention [OR 0.4 (0.2-1.0)], and time (hours) for lactate to be <2mmol/L [OR 0.9 (0.8-1.0)]. Of those with Fontan completion <3.25 years, without concomitant AVV intervention and lactate normalization within eight hours post-Fontan, 87% (27/31) had an optimal neurodevelopmental outcome.


      Optimal neurodevelopmental outcome was present in over half of 4-6 year-old children with Fontan circulation in this cohort study, with important associated factors identified, including potentially modifiable factors such as younger age at Fontan surgery and lack of concomitant AVV intervention.

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