The Mechanism of Apparent Right Bundle Branch Block After Transatrial Repair of Tetralogy of Fallot

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The electrocardiographic pattern of right bundle branch block (RBBB) is routinely observed after transatrial repair of tetralogy of Fallot even though no ventriculotomy has been performed. The mechanism of this conduction disturbance was studied in 16 patients with tetralogy of Fallot and one patient with infundibular pulmonic stenosis. Preoperative ECGs and vectorcardiograms showed right ventricular hypertrophy and no RBBB. Epicardial activation maps were obtained before and after total surgical repair in all patients and after infundibular resection but before closure of ventricular septal defect (VSD) in four of these patients. After infundibular resection, RBBB appeared and activation was markedly delayed (> 30 msec) over the pulmonary outflow tract, but was unchanged over the body of the right ventricle. No further changes in ventricular activation occurred after closure of the VSD. This study shows that RBBB after transatrial repair of tetralogy of Fallot is usually produced by infundibular resection, but not by VSD closure, and is associated with delayed activation of the pulmonary outflow tract and base of the right ventricle which results from damage to portions of the right ventricular conduction system.

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