Prevention of sudden death after repair of tetralogy of Fallot: treatment of ventricular arrhythmias

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1985 Jul;6(1):221-7. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(85)80279-5.


The majority of sudden deaths after repair of tetralogy of Fallot have been presumed to be due to ventricular arrhythmia; however, it remains to be demonstrated that antiarrhythmic medication reduces the incidence of sudden death. Since 1978, ventricular arrhythmias have been treated aggressively; these include any ventricular arrhythmia on routine electrocardiogram and more than 10 uniform premature ventricular complexes per hour on 24 hour electrocardiogram. A review was undertaken of 488 patients followed up for more than 1 month after repair of tetralogy of Fallot (mean follow-up time 6.1 years); 13.5% had ventricular arrhythmia on routine electrocardiogram. Ventricular arrhythmia appeared from 2 months to 21 years postoperatively (mean 7.3 years). Ventricular arrhythmias were significantly (p less than 0.01) related to: longer follow-up duration, older age at follow-up, older age at operation and higher postoperative right ventricular systolic and end-diastolic pressures. Ventricular arrhythmia on routine electrocardiogram occurred in 100% of those who later died suddenly compared with 12% of those who did not die (p less than 0.01). Treatment for ventricular arrhythmia was given to 46 patients and considered "successful" if there were fewer than 10 uniform premature ventricular complexes per hour on 24 hour electrocardiogram. A successful drug was found in 44 of the 46: 30 of 34 given phenytoin, 6 of 9 given propranolol, 1 of 7 given quinidine, 1 of 2 given disopyramide, 8 of 9 given mexiletine and 4 of 5 given amiodarone.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / mortality
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Block / etiology
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Risk
  • Tetralogy of Fallot / complications
  • Tetralogy of Fallot / surgery*
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents