What does long-term monitoring for tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) involve?

Updated: Nov 13, 2018
  • Author: Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Yasmine S Ali, MD, FACC, FACP, MSCI  more...
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Answer

It was previously believed that surgery for tetralogy of Fallot was curative; it is now acknowledged that even after primary repair, a fair number of individuals who underwent surgery as children will present as adults with symptoms of pulmonary valve insufficiency and arrhythmias. In the past, many of these children with repaired tetralogy of Fallot were lost to follow-up or never followed up because of the erroneous belief that their heart condition was cured.

It is currently recommended that all children with tetralogy of Fallot be followed closely, because many will present with symptoms in their third decade of life. Some pediatric cardiology centers specialize in looking after patients  with tetralogy of Fallot; they recommend a baseline magnetic resonance imaging of the heart even in the absence of symptoms. The results can then be used to monitor the patient for any changes every 3-7 years.


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