Background: Few data are available on the neuropsychological, behavioural, or structural brain imaging outcomes in adolescents who underwent corrective surgery in infancy for tetralogy of Fallot.
Methods: In this single-centre cross-sectional study, we enrolled 91 adolescents (13-16 years old) with tetralogy of Fallot and 87 referent subjects. Assessments included tests of academic achievement, memory, executive functions, visual-spatial skills, attention, and social cognition, as well as brain magnetic resonance imaging.
Results: Genetic abnormalities or syndromes were present in 25% of tetralogy of Fallot patients, who had markedly greater neuropsychological morbidities than did patients without a syndrome. However, even patients without a syndrome performed significantly worse than the referent group or population norms in all of the neuropsychological domains assessed. In multivariable regression in those without a genetic/phenotypic syndrome, the strongest predictors of adverse late neurodevelopmental outcomes included a greater number of complications at the first operation, more total surgical complications across all operations, and occurrence of post-operative seizures. The presence of at least one abnormality on structural magnetic resonance imaging was more frequent in tetralogy of Fallot patients than the referent group (42% versus 8%).
Conclusions: Adolescents with tetralogy of Fallot are at increased neurodevelopmental risk and would benefit from ongoing surveillance and educational supports even after childhood.
Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging.