Fontan operations can be performed on children who are born with a heart that has just one chamber that pumps blood, instead of the normal two pumping chambers. This operation, first performed in the early 70’s, has changed the life expectancy for babies born with what’s called a single ventricle heart. The Fontan Management Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s is one of the few programs in the country that provides complete and specialized care to individuals who have had a Fontan procedure.

With the success of Fontan operations in early childhood, patients with a Fontan circulation are now living longer. However, as these children grow older, their circulations often become vulnerable to various health issues.

If you have a Fontan circulation, monitoring your health is important. When you have regular check-ups, we are able to use preventive strategies that can help expose treatable problems early. This helps us keep an eye on your heart health, as well as preserve your liver and kidney health. When we can identify a problem early, we typically have more options for treating the problem.

Expertise in Fontan Management

Our adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) specialists have extensive experience in recognizing and treating issues related to congenital heart disease (CHD). These experts work closely with healthcare providers from many areas including cardiology, heart failure and transplantation, pulmonology, hepatology, diagnostic and interventional radiology, hematology and thrombophilia, nephrology, endocrinology, maternal and fetal medicine, gynecology and surgery.

The Fontan Management Clinic brings these care providers together in one place, making visits convenient for you. The team coordinates your appointments so you can see all specialists in one visit, and collaborates to provide patient care that is coordinated and compassionate.

Our early detection strategies are novel, and subsequent therapeutic and preventive approaches may be lifesaving for many individuals.

What symptoms are causes for concern?

If you have a Fontan circulation and experience any of these symptoms, call the Fontan Management Clinic at 513-803-2243 as soon as possible:

  • Increased shortness of breath during activities that you used to be able to do without difficulty
  • Leg and/or abdominal swelling
  • Racing heartbeat while at rest
  • Abdominal pain and loose stool and/or diarrhea
  • Persistent coughing and wheezing
  • Weight loss and diminished energy levels

Treatment Approach

This clinic’s focus is on early detection and treatment, prevention, and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. We provide you with a treatment approach that addresses the complex needs of patients who have had a Fontan operation.

Our surveillance program is geared to improve your quality and length of life. Routine check-ups to follow your health include the following:

  • Minimally invasive hemodynamics
  • Liver, lung and renal screening
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Early detection of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Musculoskeletal strength and endurance testing

We also work closely with the Heart Institute’s Single Ventricle Interstage Clinic to provide a smooth transition for children from the pediatric to adult program.

Contact Us

For patient referrals and non-urgent consultation during business hours, use the information on our contact page or our online contact form.

Heart and Mind Wellbeing Center

All of our Heart Institute patients, including those in the Adult Fontan Management Program, are able to take advantage of our Heart and Mind Wellbeing Center. This center, the first of its kind in the United States, provides individualized emotional support and mental health care for patients and families affected by heart conditions, parents and siblings included.