The current study was undertaken to assess the frequency of excessive enteric protein loss and protein-losing enteropathy in the relatively early period after the Fontan operation. Protein excretion was determined in 26 of 27 consecutive patients who underwent the Fontan procedure between January and June 1990 at the Mayo Clinic. At two testing intervals during the first 4 months after the Fontan operation, α1-antitrypsin clearance and fecal α1-antitrypsin concentration studies were done. All results were normal for the first postoperative test period (2 to 8 weeks). For the second study period, all 17 patients tested had normal α1-antitrypsin clearances. One of the 17 patients had an appreciably increased fecal α1-antitrypsin concentration and transient protein-losing enteropathy. Excessive enteric protein loss and protein-losing enteropathy are relatively uncommon during the first 4 months after the Fontan operation.
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