Midterm outcomes of the Potts shunt for pediatric pulmonary hypertension, with comparison to lung transplant

Timothy S. Lancaster, Shabana Shahanavaz, David T. Balzer, Stuart C. Sweet, R. Mark Grady, Pirooz Eghtesady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: For children with severe pulmonary hypertension, addition of Potts shunt to a comprehensive palliation strategy might improve the outcomes afforded by medications and delay lung transplantation. Methods: A prospective analysis was conducted of all children undergoing Potts shunt (first performed in 2013) or bilateral lung transplant for pulmonary hypertension from 1995 to present. Results: A total of 23 children underwent Potts shunt (20 surgical, 3 transcatheter), and 31 children underwent lung transplant. All children with Potts shunt had suprasystemic right ventricle pressures despite maximal medical treatment. In the majority of patients, the Potts shunt was performed through a left thoracotomy approach (90%, 18/20), by direct anastomosis (65%, 13/20), and without the use of extracorporeal support (65%, 13/20). Perioperative outcomes after Potts shunt were superior to lung transplant including mechanical ventilation time (1.3 vs 10.2 days, P =.019), median hospital length of stay (9.8 vs 34 days, P =.012), and overall complication rate (35% [7/20] vs 81% [25/31], P =.003). Risk factors for operative mortality after Potts shunt (20%, 4/20; compared with 6%, 2/31 for lung transplant, P =.195) included preoperative extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and significant right ventricle dysfunction. In midterm follow-up (median 1.8, maximum 6.1 years), patients with Potts shunt had durable equalization of right ventricle/left ventricle pressures and improved functional status. There was no significant survival difference in patients with Potts shunt and patients with lung transplant (P =.258). Conclusions: Potts shunt is an effective palliation for children with suprasystemic pulmonary hypertension that may become part of a strategy to maximize longevity and functional status for these challenging patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1148
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Eisenmenger syndrome
  • Potts shunt
  • lung transplant
  • pulmonary hypertension


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