Moving on up: Is it safe for patients to relocate to higher altitude following the Fontan procedure?

James L. Gottlieb, William M. McDonnell, Ronald W. Day, Anji T. Yetman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The change in clinical status of patients status post-Fontan surgery who relocated from low (<1,500 feet) to moderate (>4,000 feet) altitude was assessed. Cardiology databases were queried for patients meeting inclusion criteria. The clinical records of these patients for the 6 months before and 6 months after relocation were then reviewed. Between 1990 and 2010, 16 patients relocated to moderate altitude. All patients developed a new cardiac-related adverse event within 6 months of relocation. A decrease in New York Heart Association functional classification occurred in 15 (94 %) patients, and 11 (69 %) of these required hospitalization. Clinical deterioration at higher altitude is common in patients who have undergone Fontan surgery. Physicians at lower altitudes should caution these patients about the potential risks of relocation to moderate altitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1414
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric cardiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Altitude
  • Arrhythmia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Fontan
  • Protein-losing enteropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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