Objective: The goal of this study was to see whether the open anastomosis technique using vacuum-assisted venous drainage at the time of the Fontan procedure was associated with decreased post-operative pleural effusion.Methods We analysed a subgroup of patients with a functional single ventricle who underwent non-fenestrated total cavopulmonary connection completion with the insertion of an extracardiac conduit as the sole or predominant procedure conducted by a single surgeon at a single institute, using either an open or closed anastomosis technique.Results Median age and weight were 2.3 years, with a range from 1.3 to 27.6 years and 11.4 kilograms, with a range from 9.7 to 43 kilograms, respectively. The open anastomosis technique was associated with a shorter bypass run (p = 0.015), decreased surgical duration (p = 0.032), fewer pleural effusion days (p = 0.049), and lesser pleural effusion (p = 0.013) than closed anastomosis. Correlation analysis demonstrated a significant relationship between the amount of pleural effusion and surgical duration (correlation efficient, 0.535; p = 0.033). A logistic regression model showed that the open technique was associated with a 20-fold increase in the likelihood of having a total chest tube discharge of less than 300 millilitres (p = 0.027).Conclusions The open anastomosis technique shortens operative duration and bypass run, which in turn might contribute to decreased pleural effusion soon after the modified Fontan procedure.
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