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Austin Powers’ Steamroller: Lessons Learned to Benefit Patients with Congenital Heart Disease

Published:December 30, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cardfail.2021.12.015
      A structural crisis is brewing in advanced care for patients with congenital heart disease (CHD)—specifically, single-ventricle patients palliated by the Fontan procedure. The largest study evaluating management practices in pediatric cardiac teams found that 93% of providers believe that after the Fontan procedure, patients “will eventually have signs/symptoms of heart failure (HF) and will need a heart transplant (HT) at some point in their lives.”1 Despite this, the majority either disagreed about (45%) or were undecided about (24%) “whether routine evaluation by a HF/HT cardiologist is needed.” This may be, in part, attributable to the lack of an HF/HT subspecialty in the American College of Pediatrics, but these findings highlight a concerning disconnect in the minds of providers caring for patients undergoing the Fontan procedure, for whom the providers’ preparation seems incongruous in terms of the anticipated endpoint. This disconnect would likely be even worse had the survey been conducted in adult providers, given that the providers of care for adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) have limited required HF/HT training, and adult HF/HT cardiologists have little required training in CHD.
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