Recanalisation of an occluded modified Blalock-Taussig shunt by balloon dilatation.


A four year old boy with pulmonary atresia and ventricular septal defect had an acute cyanotic episode three years after undergoing a right-sided, 6 mm diameter, modified Blalock-Taussig shunt. On admission no continuous murmur could be heard from the shunt and the typical high velocity, continuous flow profile of the shunt could not be identified by Doppler echocardiography. At catheterisation a right subclavian artery angiogram confirmed shunt occlusion. From the subclavian artery, an 0.035 inch wire was used to enter the occluded shunt and then the pulmonary artery. Balloon angioplasty of the entire length of the shunt was performed with 6 mm diameter balloon. After angioplasty the arterial oxygen saturation increased from 63% to 83%. The patient was treated with intravenous heparin followed by warfarin. Repeat catheterisation and angiography eight days later confirmed wide patency of the shunt.

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