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BACKGROUND: Pulmonary vasodilator therapy in Fontan patients can improve exercise tolerance. We aimed to assess the potential for non-invasive testing of acute vasodilator response using four-dimensional (D) flow MRI during oxygen inhalation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Six patients with well-functioning Fontan circulations were prospectively recruited and underwent cardiac MRI. Ventricular anatomical imaging and 4D Flow MRI were acquired at baseline and during inhalation of oxygen. Data were compared with six age-matched healthy volunteers with 4D Flow MRI scans acquired at baseline. RESULTS: All six patients tolerated the MRI scan well. The dominant ventricle had a left ventricular morphology in all cases. On 4D Flow MRI assessment, two patients (Patients 2 and 6) showed improved cardiac filling with improved preload during oxygen administration, increased mitral inflow, increased maximum E-wave kinetic energy, and decreased systolic peak kinetic energy. Patient 1 showed improved preload only. Patient 5 showed no change, and patient 3 had equivocal results. Patient 4, however, showed a decrease in preload and cardiac filling/function with oxygen. DISCUSSION: Using oxygen as a pulmonary vasodilator to assess increased pulmonary venous return as a marker for positive acute vasodilator response would provide pre-treatment assessment in a more physiological state - the awake patient. This proof-of-concept study showed that it is well tolerated and has shown changes in some stable patients with a Fontan circulation.

Original publication




Journal article


Cardiol Young

Publication Date



1 - 8


4D Flow MRI, Fontan, acute vasodilator response testing, kinetic energy