Published:  2022-09-01

Orthostatic stress response in pediatric Fontan patients and the effect of ACE inhibition

Authors:  Lisette M. Harteveld, Nico A. Blom, J. Gert van Dijk, Robert H. Reijntjes, Paul J. van Someren, Fabian I. Kerkhof, Irene M. Kuipers, Lukas A. J. Rammeloo, Eco J. C. de Geus, Arend D. J. ten Harkel

Tags:  ACE inhibitor therapy, ACE inhibitors, Blood flow, Blood pressure, Fontan operation, Heart rate, Hemodynamics, Stiffness

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Background Many cardiocirculatory mechanisms are involved in the adaptation to orthostatic stress. While these mechanisms may be impaired in Fontan patients. However, it is yet unclear how Fontan patients, who exhibit a critical fluid balance, respond to orthostatic stress. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors are often prescribed to Fontan patients, but they may negatively influence orthostatic tolerance. Therefore, we evaluated the response to orthostatic stress in pediatric Fontan patients before and after treatment with enalapril. Methods Thirty-five Fontan patients (aged 14 years) with moderate-good systolic ventricular function without pre-existent enalapril treatment were included. Before and after a three-month enalapril treatment period, the hemodynamic response to head-up tilt test was evaluated by various parameters including cardiac index, blood pressure, cerebral blood flow, aortic stiffness and cardiac autonomous nervous activity. Thirty-four healthy subjects (aged 13 years) served as controls. Results Fontan patients had a decreased cerebral blood flow and increased aortic stiffness in the supine position compared to controls, while all other factors did not differ. Patients and controls showed a comparable response to head-up tilt test for most parameters. Twenty-seven patients completed the enalapril study with a mean dosage of 0.3±0.1mg/kg/day. Most parameters were unaffected by enalapril, only the percent decrease in cardiac index to tilt was higher after treatment, but the cardiac index during tilt was not lower (3.0L/min/m2 pre-enalapril versus 2.8L/min/m2 after treatment; P = 0.15). Conclusion Pediatric Fontan patients adequately respond to orthostasis with maintenance of blood pressure and cerebral blood flow and sufficient autonomic response. Enalapril treatment did not alter the response. Clinical trial information Scientific title: ACE inhibition in Fontan patients: its effect on body fluid regulation (sAFE-study). The Netherlands National Trial Register: Trail NL6415. Registered 2017-07-20. Trial information: