The underlying principle of the Fontan procedure, perfusing the lungs without benefit of a ventricular pump, has been reinforced by its successful application in many children with complex cardiac anomalies involving only one functional ventricle. Several different techniques that direct systemic venous return through the right atrium directly to the pulmonary arteries can be used. By separating the pulmonary and systemic circulations, reducing ventricular volume overload, and relieving cyanosis, improved cardiac function and hemodynamics can be achieved. This article reviews the surgical techniques, perioperative nursing care with particular attention to the assessment, and management of systemic venous hypertension and the long-term outlook for these children. The collaboration of physicians and critical care nurses in the postoperative care of these children and their families is vital to a successful outcome.

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