Comparison of Management Strategies for Neonates With Symptomatic Tetralogy of Fallot

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Mar 2;77(8):1093-1106. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2020.12.048.


Background: Neonates with tetralogy of Fallot and symptomatic cyanosis (sTOF) require early intervention.

Objectives: This study sought to perform a balanced multicenter comparison of staged repair (SR) (initial palliation [IP] and subsequent complete repair [CR]) versus primary repair (PR) treatment strategies.

Methods: Consecutive neonates with sTOF who underwent IP or PR at ≤30 days of age from 2005 to 2017 were retrospectively reviewed from the Congenital Cardiac Research Collaborative. The primary outcome was death. Secondary outcomes included component (IP, CR, PR) and cumulative (SR): hospital and intensive care unit lengths of stay; durations of cardiopulmonary bypass, anesthesia, ventilation, and inotrope use; and complication and reintervention rates. Outcomes were compared using propensity score adjustment.

Results: The cohort consisted of 342 patients who underwent SR (IP: surgical, n = 256; transcatheter, n = 86) and 230 patients who underwent PR. Pre-procedural ventilation, prematurity, DiGeorge syndrome, and pulmonary atresia were more common in the SR group (p ≤0.01). The observed risk of death was not different between the groups (10.2% vs 7.4%; p = 0.25) at median 4.3 years. After adjustment, the hazard of death remained similar between groups (hazard ratio: 0.82; 95% confidence interval: 0.49 to 1.38; p = 0.456), but it favored SR during early follow-up (<4 months; p = 0.041). Secondary outcomes favored the SR group in component analysis, whereas they largely favored PR in cumulative analysis. Reintervention risk was higher in the SR group (p = 0.002).

Conclusions: In this multicenter comparison of SR or PR for management of neonates with sTOF, adjusted for patient-related factors, early mortality and neonatal morbidity were lower in the SR group, but cumulative morbidity and reinterventions favored the PR group, findings suggesting potential benefits to each strategy.

Keywords: congenital heart disease; neurodevelopmental outcomes; outcomes; palliation; staged repair.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Cyanosis / etiology
  • Cyanosis / surgery
  • Heart Transplantation / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Reoperation / statistics & numerical data
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tetralogy of Fallot / mortality
  • Tetralogy of Fallot / surgery*
  • Time Factors