Virtual surgery to predict optimized conduit size for adult Fontan patients with 16-mm conduits

Tjerry Hut, Arno Roest, Duco Gaillard, Mark Hazekamp, Pieter Van Den Boogaard, Hildo Lamb, Lucia Kroft, Monique Jongbloed, Jos Westenberg, Jolanda Wentzel, Friso Rijnberg*, Sasa Kenjeres

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)



Recent evidence suggests that conduits implanted in Fontan patients at the age of 2-4 years become undersized for adulthood. The objective of this study is to use computational fluid dynamic models to evaluate the effect of virtual expansion of the Fontan conduit on haemodynamics and energetics of the total cavopulmonary connection (TCPC) under resting conditions and increased flow conditions.


Patient-specific, magnetic resonance imaging-based simulation models of the TCPC were performed during resting and increased flow conditions. The original 16-mm conduits were virtually enlarged to 3 new sizes. The proposed conduit sizes were defined based on magnetic resonance imaging-derived conduit flow in each patient. Flow efficiency was evaluated based on power loss, pressure drop and resistance and thrombosis risk was based on flow stagnation volume and relative residence time (RRT). 


Models of 5 adult patients with a 16-mm extracardiac Fontan connection were simulated and subsequently virtually expanded to 24-32 mm depending on patient-specific conduit flow. Virtual expansion led to a 40-65% decrease in pressure gradient across the TCPC depending on virtual conduit size. Despite improved energetics of the entire TCPC, the pulmonary arteries remained a significant contributor to energy loss (60-73% of total loss) even after virtual surgery. Flow stagnation volume inside the virtual conduit and surface area in case of elevated RRT (>20/Pa) increased after conduit enlargement but remained negligible (flow stagnation <2% of conduit volume in rest, <0.5% with exercise and elevated RRT <3% in rest, <1% with exercise). 


Virtual expansion of 16-mm conduits to 24-32 mm, depending on patient-specific conduit flow, in Fontan patients significantly improves TCPC efficiency while thrombosis risk presumably remains low.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberivad126
JournalInterdisciplinary Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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