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Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 2002 Nov;95(11):1112-8.

[Outcome of operated Fallot's tetralogy].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service de cardiologie pédiatrique, hôpital cardiologique Haut-Lévêque, avenue de Magellan, 33604 Pessac.


Fifty years after the beginning of cardiac surgery, a large percentage of operated congenital heart disease patients attain adulthood. The tetralogy of Fallot is one of the malformations in which the natural outcome was unfortunately nearly fatal in the long-term. Open heart surgery has radically transformed the prognosis of this, the most common of all cyanotic congenital cardiac malformations. Nowadays, most operated patients lead normal professional and family lives. Lonf-term survival after correction is between 90-95% after 30-35 years. Although surgical repair is satisfactory, the operated heart is not anatomically normal. The patients have a variable degree of devalvulation of the pulmonary outflow tract, a scar on the right ventricle, a patch repairing the ventricular septal defect and scars on the atrium (cannulation for cardiopulmonary bypass). These sequellae expose the patients to a number of complications, notably arrhythmic and sometimes haemodynamic, affecting the right ventricle. The late mortality rate varies from 5 to 13% in the literature. The main causes of death are sudden death and reoperation. Sudden death is the most severe long-term complication but it is uncommon, affecting less than 5% of the population. It is mainly due to ventricular arrhythmias. Certain predisposing factors should be identified during long-term follow-up, among them the presence of haemodynamic abnormalities: systolic overload (residual pulmonary stenosis) or diastolic overload of the right ventricle (pulmonary regurgitation), infundibular aneurysm, right ventricular dysfunction. It would appear to be important to prevent pulmonary regurgitation by preserving the pulmonary valve even if it means persistence of a mild transvalvular pressure gradient. When pulmonary regurgitation is inevitable, follow-up is essential to evaluate the timing of valvulation of the pulmonary orifice. Despite these different complications which must be understood for proper follow-up of these patients, the long-term outcome of operated tetralogy of Fallot remains very good.

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