Long-term follow-up and sex differences in adults operated for tetralogy of Fallot

Open Heart. 2021 Oct;8(2):e001738. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2021-001738.


Objective: Adults operated for tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) have high risk of ventricular arrhythmias (VA). QRS duration >180 ms is an established risk factor for VA. We aimed to investigate heart function, prevalence of arrhythmias and sex differences in patients with TOF at long-term follow-up.

Methods: We included TOF-operated patients≥18 years from our centre's registry. We reviewed medical records and the most recent echocardiographic exam. VA was recorded on ECGs, 24-hour Holter registrations and from implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Results: We included 148 patients (age 37±10 years). Left ventricular global longitudinal strain (LV GLS, -15.8±3.1% vs -18.8±3.2%, p=0.001) and right ventricular (RV) GLS (-15.8±3.9% vs -19.1±4.1%, p=0.001) were lower in men at all ages compared with women. Higher RV D1 (4.3±0.5 cm vs 4.6±0.6 cm, p=0.01), lower ejection fraction (55%±8% vs 50%±9%, p=0.02), lower RV GLS (-18.1±4.0 ms vs -16.1±4.8 ms, p=0.04) and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) over reference range (n=27 (23%) vs n=8 (77%), p<0.001) were associated with higher incidence of VA. QRS duration was longer in men (151±30 ms vs 128±25 ms, p<0.001). No patients had QRS duration >180 ms. QRS duration did not differ in those with and without VA (143±32 ms vs 137±28 ms, p=0.06).

Conclusions: Our results confirmed reduced RV function in adults operated for TOF. Male patients had impaired LV and RV function expressed by lower LV and RV GLS values at all ages. Reduced cardiac function and elevated NT-proBNP were associated with higher incidence of VA and may be important in risk assessment.

Keywords: arrhythmias; cardiac; echocardiography; heart failure; systolic; tetralogy of Fallot.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't