Single-center 50 years' experience with surgical management of tetralogy of Fallot

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2011 Sep;40(3):538-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcts.2010.12.065. Epub 2011 Feb 26.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term outcome of total repair for tetralogy of Fallot. We aimed to characterize late survival and the time-related risk of late reoperation.

Methods: Operative protocols, patient records, and the database of the department were evaluated from 1951 until 2008. The official death registry of Norway was used for follow-up. Of the patients identified, the follow-up was 99.6% complete.

Results: A total of 627 patients were studied. Of these, 570 could be identified for follow-up. There were a total of 41 early and 30 late deaths. The total early (including palliative procedures) mortality was 7.2% and total late mortality was 7.9%. However, during the last 10 years, no early mortality has been observed following repair. A total of 264 patients underwent some form of palliative procedure as their first treatment, and 541 patients had a reparative procedure performed, with an early mortality of 31 (5.7%). In patients subjected to a reparative procedure, there was no difference in freedom from death or reoperation following primary repair versus primary palliation. The use of transannular patch was associated with a highly significant risk of reoperation.

Conclusions: Surgical treatment of the tetralogy of Fallot and related congenital cardiac malformations has good long-term prognosis. In this cohort of patients, more than one-third required additional procedures later on, and, in some cases, as many as four additional surgeries. Palliative procedures followed by repair do not influence survival or reoperation-free survival. There are no differences between transatrial versus transventricular repair on survival or re-repair. Any transannular incision increases the risk of re-repair, but does not influence long-time survival. There is an almost linear decrease in reoperation-free survival following any type of repair of tetralogy of Fallot, even for as long as 50 years since the first procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tetralogy of Fallot / mortality
  • Tetralogy of Fallot / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome