Computational fluid dynamics in the evaluation of hemodynamic performance of cavopulmonary connections after the Norwood procedure for hypoplastic left heart syndrome

Edward L Bove, Marc R de Leval, Francesco Migliavacca, Gualtiero Guadagni, Gabriele Dubini
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2003, 126 (4): 1040-7

OBJECTIVE: Computational fluid dynamics have been used to study the hemodynamic performance of surgical operations, resulting in improved design. Efficient designs with minimal energy losses are especially important for cavopulmonary connections. The purpose of this study was to compare hydraulic performance between the hemi-Fontan and bidirectional Glenn procedures, as well as the various types of completion Fontan operations.

METHODS: Three-dimensional models were constructed of typical hemi-Fontan and bidirectional Glenn operations according to anatomic data derived from magnetic resonance scans, angiocardiograms, and echocardiograms. Boundary conditions were imposed, and fluid dynamics were calculated from a mathematic code. Power losses, flow distribution to each lung, and pressures were measured at three predetermined levels of pulmonary arteriolar resistance. Models of the lateral tunnel, total cavopulmonary connection, and extracardiac conduit completion Fontan operations were constructed, and power losses, total flow distribution, vena caval and pulmonary arterial pressures, and flow distribution of inferior vena caval return were calculated.

RESULTS: The hemi-Fontan and bidirectional Glenn procedures performed nearly identically, with similar power losses and nearly equal flow distributions to each lung at all levels of pulmonary arteriolar resistance. However, the lateral tunnel Fontan procedure as performed after the hemi-Fontan operation had lower power losses (6.9 mW, pulmonary arteriolar resistance 3 units) than the total cavopulmonary connection (40.5 mW) or the extracardiac conduit (42.9 mW), although the inclusion of an enlargement patch toward the right in the total cavopulmonary connection was effective in reducing the difference (10.0 mW). Inferior vena caval flow to the right lung was 52% for the lateral tunnel, compared with 19%, 30%, 19%, and 15% for the total cavopulmonary connection, total cavopulmonary connection with right-sided enlargement patch, extracardiac conduit, and extracardiac conduit with a bevel to the left lung, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: According to these methods, the hemi-Fontan and bidirectional Glenn procedures performed equally well, but important differences in energy losses and flow distribution were found after the completion Fontan procedures. The superior hydraulic performance of the lateral tunnel Fontan operation after the hemi-Fontan procedure relative to any other method may be due to closer to optimal caval offset achieved in the surgical reconstruction.

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