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Retrospective study of preoperative sildenafil in prolonged pleural effusion after Fontan.

BACKGROUND: By rerouting the systemic venous return into the pulmonary circulation, the Fontan operation is perhaps the most effective palliative procedure in patients with complex congenital heart disease. The Fontan, however, still comes with several significant complications and morbidities, one of them being postoperative prolonged pleural effusion. In our center from 2017 to 2021, 10% of all our patients who underwent Fontan operation developed prolonged pleural effusion. With this study, we aimed to analyze the preoperative use of sildenafil for 6 months and its role in prolonged pleural effusion after the Fontan operation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In total, 158 patients were included in the analysis. The cohort was divided into patients who developed prolonged pleural effusion after Fontan surgery ( n = 17) and those who did not ( n = 141). We analyzed several risk factors and the history of sildenafil use in each group in the cohort. We found that patients who used sildenafil for at least 6 months prior to Fontan surgery versus those who did not use ( n = 112 vs. n = 46) were found to be at lower risk of developing prolonged pleural effusion (odds ratio [OR]: 0.32 [confidence interval 95%: 0.11-0.88], P = 0.027).

CONCLUSION: Preoperative administration of sildenafil for at least 6 months before Fontan might reduce the risk of postoperative prolonged pleural effusion.

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