Fontan circulation and the liver

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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This information is designed for use by young people with a Fontan circulation and their families.

Recently we have learned more about the liver in people with a Fontan circulation. We are learning that having a Fontan circulation can be associated with scarring to the liver that can affect its function. We are working hard through research to understand why this happens and how we can prevent this problem.

By attending your regular follow up appointments we can detect problems early and work together to prevent complications, so it’s vital that you come to all your appointments.

During your appointments your cardiologist will discuss the risk of developing liver problems. You may be asked to have a blood test to check the function of your liver every year or two. You may also be asked to have a liver ultrasound, CT or MRI scan. All of these tests are non-invasive and painless. If there are any concerns seen in these tests, your cardiologist may refer you to a liver specialist.

Because of these possible issues with your liver it is important to not undertake any activities that may increase the risk of liver problems. These activities include drinking excessive alcohol and taking street drugs or herbal preparations not prescribed by your GP or cardiologist.

If you have any questions, please make a note of them here and discuss with your specialist.


CT: Computerised tomography scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles to create images “slices” of inside your body

MRI: Magnetic resonance image that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of your body’s soft tissue and bones.

Ultrasound: A scan that uses sound waves to create images of internal organs.

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