Exercise Performance at Increased Altitude After Fontan Operation: Comparison to Normal Controls and Correlation with Cavopulmonary Hemodynamics.

Di Maria MV; Patel SS; Fernie JC; Rausch CM;

Pediatric Cardiology [Pediatr Cardiol] 2020 Jan 31. Date of Electronic Publication: 2020 Jan 31.

Exercise performance declines as patients who have undergone Fontan operation enter adolescence. However, the effect of altitude on functional capacity after Fontan remains inadequately studied. Our aim was to describe exercise performance in a cohort of patients with Fontan physiology living at increased altitude and compare to a normal control group and relate these data to invasively derived hemodynamics. We hypothesized that peak oxygen consumption ([Formula: see text]) would be decreased, in association with elevated mean pulmonary artery pressure (mPAP) and pulmonary vascular resistance (PVRi). Patients were evaluated in a multidisciplinary clinic for patients with Fontan physiology. Evaluation included cardiopulmonary exercise test and cardiac catheterization at predetermined intervals. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Associations of catheterization and exercise testing measures with [Formula: see text] were estimated with Spearman correlation coefficients. One hundred patients with age- and gender-matched controls were included in the analysis. The mean age was 13.3 ± 3.9 years, with mean weight of 47.1 ± 18.4 kg. The mean [Formula: see text] was 29.0 ± 7.8 ml/kg/min, significantly lower than the control group, 40.2 ± 8.4 ml/kg/min (p < 0.0001). There was no statistically significant linear correlation between [Formula: see text] and mPAP or PVRi. We characterized exercise performance in a large cohort with Fontan physiology living at increased altitude and showed a decrease in [Formula: see text] compared to controls. Our data do not support the hypothesis that moderately increased altitude has a detrimental effect on exercise performance, nor is there a substantial link between poor cavopulmonary hemodynamics and exercise in this setting.