High-degree Norwood neoaortic tapering is associated with abnormal flow conduction and elevated flow-mediated energy loss.

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The Norwood neoaortic arch biomechanical properties are abnormal due to reduced vessel wall compliance and abnormal geometry. Others have previously described neoaortic geometric distortion by the degree of diameter reduction (tapering) and associated this with mismatched ventricular-neoaortic coupling, abnormal flow hemodynamic parameters, and worse patient outcome. Our purposes were to investigate the influence of neoaortic tapering (ie, diameter reduction) on flow-mediated viscous energy loss (EL’) in post-Norwood palliated hypoplastic left heart syndrome patients, and correlate flow-geometry with single ventricle power generation.Twenty-six palliated hypoplastic left heart syndrome patients underwent comprehensive cardiac evaluation with 4-dimensional-flow magnetic resonance imaging. Patients were grouped into high- (group H, n = 13) and low- (group L, n = 13) degree neoaortic tapering using the median cutoff value of neoaortic diameter variance. EL’ was calculated along standardized segments using 4-dimensional-flow magnetic resonance imaging. Flow-mediated power loss as a percentage of total power generated by the single ventricle was determined.Group H had a higher prevalence of abnormal recirculating flow in the neoaorta and elevated neoaortic EL’ in the ascending aorta (1.0 vs 0.6 mW; P = .004). Group H EL’ was increased across the entire thoracic aorta (2.6 vs 1.3 mW; P = .002) and accounted for 0.7% of generated ventricular power versus 0.3% in group L (P = .024). EL’ directly correlated with the degree of ascending aortic dilation (R = 0.49; P = .012).Patients with high degree neoaortic tapering have more perturbed flow through the neoaorta and increased EL’. Flow-mediated energy loss due to abnormal flow represents irreversibly wasted power generated by the single right ventricle. In patients with high-degree neoaortic tapering, EL’ was more than 2-fold greater than low-degree tapering patients. These data suggest that oversizing the Norwood neoaortic reconstruction should be avoided and that patients with distorted neoaortic geometry may warrant increased surveillance for single-ventricle deterioration.

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Authors: Michal Schäfer, Michael V Di Maria, James Jaggers, Matthew L Stone, D Dunbar Ivy, Alex J Barker, Max B Mitchell