Skip to main content

Fontan Clinic

Center for Heart Care

At one time, babies born with single-ventricular heart defects had low chances for recovery and a healthy future. The Fontan procedure, developed in 1971, changed that. Now, after decades of improvements to the procedure, most children survive to adulthood and enjoy a good quality of life.

If you or your child has had a Fontan procedure, lifelong monitoring is critical — not only for heart problems but also for effects on other organs, including the brain, lungs, liver and kidneys. Any possible complications need to be caught and treated as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.

The team of specialists at the Fontan Clinic at Phoenix Children’s know what to look for and how to respond effectively. No matter where the procedure was performed, we can provide follow-up testing and care, now and into the future.

If you or your child have had a Fontan procedure to correct a single-ventricle heart defect, you are invited to visit this multispecialty clinic. We accept patients from across the nation. No matter where the procedure was performed, our clinic can evaluate your needs and provide experienced, specialized care and monitoring. We can help anticipate and identify any changes or complications — so you can get the most effective treatment as quickly as possible.

Your doctor or cardiologist can refer you to the Fontan Clinic. We’ll work with your cardiologist and other healthcare providers to make sure you get all the care you need.

To refer a patient, contact Bill Chesney, RN, MSN, at 602-933-3366.

Complete Specialized Care at One Location

The Fontan Clinic serves children and adults who have undergone the Fontan procedure and the surgeries leading up to it (such as the Norwood procedure and Glenn shunt). These surgeries are the mainstay of treatment for children and adults with congenital single-ventricle heart defects (also called univentricular hearts).

These rare conditions and their treatment can affect other organs, including the brain, lungs, liver and kidneys. People who have undergone the Fontan procedure may be at risk for poor growth, learning problems and mental health issues. The Fontan flow — the way your blood flows after a Fontan procedure — interacts with the entire body. We are here to help keep an eye on all the organs as they adjust to the Fontan flow. We can help detect any trouble before it becomes severe.

The Fontan Clinic was created so that all the specialists needed are available at one location. In most cases, our team members can meet with you during one visit — preventing the need for multiple trips to different locations. If needed, our social work and behavioral health specialists can help with school individual education plans (IEP) and 504 plans. This team approach helps reduce stress for your family and gives different specialists a chance to collaborate on each case.

In addition to providing advanced care, the team of specialists at the Fontan Clinic helps create educational tools for families and providers. They also help develop protocols and conduct database research to help ensure all Fontan patients receive the highest quality of care.

Let us help give your family peace of mind knowing that you’re getting the best possible care for life after a Fontan procedure.

Conditions We Treat

We treat children and young adults who have had a Fontan procedure to treat a single-ventricle heart defect (univentricular heart). In these rare disorders, one lower chamber of the heart may be smaller, underdeveloped or missing a valve.

Single-ventricle heart defects can include:

  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome — The left side of the heart is underdeveloped. The aorta and left ventricle are too small, and the holes in the artery and septum do not close.
  • Pulmonary atresia or intact ventricular septum — There is no pulmonary valve. The only blood receiving oxygen is diverted to the lungs through openings that normally close during development.
  • Tricuspid atresia — There is no tricuspid valve, so blood cannot properly flow from the body into the heart.

Your First Visit

Before your first visit, we will schedule you or your child for several tests. You may need tests to check your:

  • Heart and lungs: Echocardiogram, exercise testing/six-minute walk test, rhythm monitor
  • Liver function: Lab tests, ultrasound with elastography, liver magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Kidneys: Labs and renal ultrasound
  • Blood and urine
  • Neurodevelopment

Your first visit may take several hours, depending on your needs. You’ll see a number of different team members, which may include:

  • Cardiologists
  • Liver, kidney and lung specialists
  • A psychologist
  • A nutritionist
  • A social worker

After Your Visit

After you or your child has been evaluated by all the specialists, the Fontan Clinic team will create a complete care plan and discuss it with your cardiologist. We’ll make plans for any medications or procedures needed. If you or your child needs any further specialty help, such as otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) or endocrinology, we’ll coordinate the referrals.

After the first visit, you’ll need to follow up with your cardiologist every six months. You’ll meet with our team again in two years or as needed.

Contact Us

To refer a patient, contact Bill Chesney, RN, MSN, at 602-933-3366.

Clinic Location
1919 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85016

Meet the Team

Additional Team Members

Bill Chesney
Fontan Clinic nurse

Heather Cawley
Social worker

Patricia Carey
Social worker

Kat Wingate

Share this page