Publication Date




Download Full Text (326 KB)


Background/Introduction: Post-operative hospitalization for the Fontan procedure tends to have an extended hospital length of stay (LOS). From 2013-2014, the average LOS at Children’s Mercy for the Fontan procedure is 14 days, whereas the U.S. national reported average is 11 days. Post-operative management of this patient population is often caregiver dependent. It has been theorized that developing a more standardized post-operative management regimen tailored specifically toward the unique physiology of Fontan patients may be able to improve outcomes and decrease LOS.

Methods: A review of literature was performed and revealed three pediatric institutions have published their post-operative Fontan care guidelines. Common elements from these care guidelines were identified and then trialed in 2016 on our post-operative Fontan population. Three patients were included in four individual PDSA cycles. Adherence to each intervention was tracked and information gathered regarding potential issues.

Results: Use of supplemental oxygen prior to chest drainage tube removal had 100% adherence and no harm or negative side effects (such as nosebleeds, or impeding ability to ambulate) reported. Restriction of fluids had a 33% adherence rate with IV fluids started or IV fluid boluses administered over the 80% restriction in 2/3 patients. Following a standardized diuretic regimen had 100% adherence with no negative patient outcomes. Obtaining central access within 48 hours post-operatively via a PICC line had 100% adherence.

Conclusion: By performing individual PDSA cycles prior to full implementation of a post-operative clinical pathway, potential areas of concern were able to be identified and addressed or disproved. The Fontan clinical pathway was fully implemented for 2017 with plans to complete another full PDSA cycle.

MeSH Keywords

Fontan Procedure; Postoperative Period; Critical Pathways


Fontan; clinical pathway


Cardiology | Critical Care | Critical Care Nursing | Pediatric Nursing | Pediatrics | Perioperative, Operating Room and Surgical Nursing

Pre-Implementation of a Fontan Post-Operative Clinical Pathway:  Summary of 2016 PDSA Cycles