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Circulation. 2004 Sep 14;110(11 Suppl 1):II153-7.

Pulmonary regurgitation is an important determinant of right ventricular contractile dysfunction in patients with surgically repaired tetralogy of Fallot.

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Grown up Congenital Heart Unit, The Heart Hospital, Westmoreland Street, London, UK.



Evaluation of right ventricular (RV) function in patients with pulmonary regurgitation (PR) after tetralogy repair remains challenging because of abnormal RV loading conditions.


We examined 124 patients, aged 21+/-11.4 years, who had tetralogy repair at 3.7+/-3.5 years. By Doppler echocardiography, 33 patients had mild, 22 moderate, and 69 severe PR; 55 had significant tricuspid regurgitation (TR). Myocardial velocities, myocardial acceleration during isovolumic contraction (IVA), strain, and strain rate were measured at RV and LV base. Tricuspid valve annulus was measured in a 4-chamber view. QRS, QT, and JT intervals and their dispersions were measured from 12-lead electrocardiogram. IVA in the RV was lower in all patients compared with controls (0.8+/-0.4 versus 1.8+/-0.5, P<0.0001) and correlated with the severity of PR (r=-0.43, P<0.0001), whereas myocardial velocities, and strain/strain rate did not. LV IVA correlated with PR (r=-0.32, P<0.001) and with RV IVA (r=0.28, P<0.003). Patients with severe PR had a higher incidence of TR (r=0.69, P<0.0001) and lower RV IVA (1.0+/-0.4 versus 0.6+/-0.3, P<0.0001), a larger tricuspid valve ring diameter (P<0.0001), and prolonged electrical depolarization (P<0.001). Age at surgery or examination did not correlate with PR and with RV function assessed by IVA. In the RV, IVA correlated inversely with QRS duration (P<0.01).


Although load-dependent myocardial velocities and strain are not influenced by the severity of PR and presence of significant TR, IVA demonstrates reduced contractile function in relation to the degree of PR and may be an early, sensitive index for selecting patients for valve replacement.

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