A multifaceted approach to the management of plastic bronchitis after cavopulmonary palliation.

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2014 Aug

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<p><strong>BACKGROUND: </strong>Plastic bronchitis is a rare, potentially life-threatening complication after Fontan operation. Hemodynamic alterations (elevated central venous pressure and low cardiac output) likely contribute to the formation of tracheobronchial casts composed of inflammatory debris, mucin, and fibrin. Pathologic studies of cast composition support medical treatment with fibrinolytics such as inhaled tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA).</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>This was a retrospective case series of medical, surgical, and catheter-based treatment of patients with plastic bronchitis after cavopulmonary palliation.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Included were 14 patients (86% male, 93% white). Median age at Fontan operation was 2.7 years (range, 1.2 to 4.1 years), with median interval to plastic bronchitis presentation of 1.5 years (range, 9 days to 15.4 years). Cast composition was available for 11 patients (79%) and included fibrin deposits in 7. All patients were treated with pulmonary vasodilators, and 13 (93%) were treated with inhaled t-PA. Hemodynamically significant lesions in the Fontan pathway were addressed by catheter-based (n=9) and surgical (n=3) interventions. Three patients (21%) underwent heart transplantation. Median follow-up was 2.7 years (range, 0.6 to 8.7 years). Symptoms improved, such that 6 of 13 patients (46%) were weaned off t-PA. Rare or episodic casts are successfully managed with outpatient t-PA in most of the other patients. Of the 3 patients who underwent heart transplant, 2 are asymptomatic and 1 has recurrent casts in the setting of elevated filling pressures and rejection.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>A systematic step-wise algorithm that includes optimization of hemodynamics, aggressive pulmonary vasodilation, and inhaled t-PA is an effective treatment strategy for patients with plastic bronchitis after cavopulmonary connection.</p>



Alternate Title

Ann Thorac Surg


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