The Fontan operation is a common end point for children born with a single functional ventricle. Fontan patients typically experience physiological deterioration leading to transplant or death in their third or fourth decades of life. This deterioration is partially attributable to progressive increases in pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and as such endothelin receptor antagonists, which are known to decrease pulmonary vascular resistance, have been proposed as potentially beneficial in this population. We conducted a single-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study of 12 weeks of ambrisentan therapy (10 mg per day) versus placebo to test the hypothesis that endothelin receptor antagonism will improve cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters and 36-item short form (SF-36) assessed quality of life in adult Fontan patients. Twenty-eight patients entered the trial, 19 patients completed the protocol. Ambrisentan therapy improved peak oxygen consumption by 1.7 ml/kg/min in patients who achieved a respiratory exchange ratio of >0.95 (p = 0.05) and decreased the slope of the ventilatory equivalent ratio for oxygen (-2.8, p = 0.019) in all completers. It did not change SF-36 physical function score compared with placebo (p = 0.28). Ambrisentan therapy resulted in a decrease in (-1.4 g/dl, p <0.001) with no change in liver or renal function. Therapy was generally well tolerated, with no greater rate of side effects than placebo. In conclusion, ambrisentan is well tolerated and improves exercise capacity in adult Fontan patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine