The Fontan circulation, a result of a palliative procedure in patients with single systemic ventricles, is defined by chronically elevated pulmonary vascular resistance. When traditional heart failure therapies fail, pharmacological agents that reduce pulmonary artery pressures may be used. These include endothelial-receptor antagonists, prostanoids and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors. We report the first use of macitentan, an endothelin-receptor antagonist, in a patient with a Fontan circulation.
We describe the case of a 50 year old female with tricuspid atresia and transposition of the great arteries. Following complex surgery as a child, she subsequently underwent a fenestrated modified atrial pulmonary Fontan operation which was later converted to a total cavopulmonary anastomosis Fontan circulation. Due to failure of various medications to relieve her worsening symptoms, she was commenced on macitentan in April 2016. Few months later, she demonstrated a significant symptomatic improvement and associated increase in her incremental shuttle walking test distance.
Macitentan has slower receptor dissociation kinetics compared to other endothelin-receptor antagonists, leading to enhanced pharmacological activity with promising effects in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The patient we report has shown considerable improvement in exercise capacity following introduction of this medication and thus we suggest further randomised trials to establish the role of different endothelin-receptor antagonists in the management of the Fontan circulation.