Tetralogy of Fallot.


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Abstract

Tetralogy of Fallot is the most common form of cyanotic congenital heart disease, and one of the first to be successfully repaired by congenital heart surgeons. Since the first procedures in the 1950s, advances in the diagnosis, perioperative and surgical treatment, and postoperative care have been such that almost all those born with tetralogy of Fallot can now expect to survive to adulthood. The startling improvement in outcomes for babies born with congenital heart disease in general-and for those with tetralogy of Fallot in particular-is one of the success stories of modern medicine. Indeed, in many countries adults with tetralogy of Fallot outnumber children. Consequently, new issues have emerged, ranging from hitherto unpredicted medical complications to issues with training for caregivers and resource allocation for this population of survivors. Therefore, evolution of treatment, recognition of late complications, research on disease mechanisms and therapies-with feedback to changes in care of affected children born nowadays-are templates on which the timely discussion of organisation of care of those affected by congenital heart diseases from the fetus to the elderly can be based. Here, we focus on new developments in the understanding of the causes, diagnosis, early treatment, and late outcomes of tetralogy of Fallot, emphasising the continuum of multidisciplinary care that is necessary for best possible lifelong treatment of the 1% of the population born with congenital heart diseases.

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