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Ann Thorac Surg. 1983 Dec;36(6):684-91.

Pulmonary valve replacement for regurgitation after repair of tetralogy of Fallot.


In general, it has been thought that pulmonary valve insufficiency is well tolerated when the valve is excised or when the pulmonary annulus has been widened with an outflow patch during repair of tetralogy of Fallot. However, when pulmonary regurgitation is massive or when it is combined with other causes of right ventricular failure, progressive right ventricular dilation may occur in some patients. Pulmonary valve replacement has not been commonly used in the past. From January, 1980, to August, 1982, 12 patients, 11 months to 17 years old, had pulmonary regurgitation treated by insertion of a valve in the pulmonary position 4 1/2 months to 11 years after initial repair of tetralogy of Fallot. All patients had progressive right ventricular failure not responsive to medical management. There were no major outflow tract obstructions, residual ventricular septal defects, or persistent aortopulmonary shunts. All 12 patients underwent patch reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract that allowed placement of a larger valve. There have been no operative or late deaths, and each patient has had improvement in functional status. One patient required tricuspid valve replacement 1 1/2 years after pulmonary valve replacement to achieve sustained relief of symptoms. Only 1 other patient required subsequent operation; this was for pacemaker lead changes. These early results suggest that in patients with right ventricular failure, attention should be directed to pulmonary regurgitation since this is a component of failure that is reversible; pulmonary valve replacement carries a low risk, and it can relieve symptoms and prevent further deterioration of right ventricular function.

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