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The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) 2022 Expert Consensus Document: Management of infants and neonates with tetralogy of Fallot

Published:October 26, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2022.07.025

      Abstract

      Objective

      Despite decades of experience, aspects of the management of tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary stenosis (TOF) remain controversial. Practitioners must consider newer, evolving treatment strategies with limited data to guide decision making. Therefore, the TOF Clinical Practice Standards Committee was commissioned by the American Association for Thoracic Surgery to provide a framework on this topic, focused on timing and types of interventions, management of high-risk patients, technical considerations during interventions, and best practices for assessment of outcomes of the interventions. In addition, the group was tasked with identifying pertinent research questions for future investigations. It is recognized that variability in institutional experience could influence the application of this framework to clinical practice.

      Methods

      The TOF Clinical Practice Standards Committee is a multinational, multidisciplinary group of cardiologists and surgeons with expertise in TOF. With the assistance of a medical librarian, a citation search in PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science was performed using key words related to TOF and its management; the search was restricted to the English language and the year 2000 or later. Articles pertaining to pulmonary atresia, absent pulmonary valve, atrioventricular septal defects, and adult patients with TOF were excluded, as well as nonprimary sources such as review articles. This yielded nearly 20,000 results, of which 163 were included. Greater consideration was given to more recent studies, larger studies, and those using comparison groups with randomization or propensity score matching. Expert consensus statements with class of recommendation and level of evidence were developed using a modified Delphi method, requiring 80% of the member votes with 75% agreement on each statement.

      Results

      In asymptomatic infants, complete surgical correction between age 3 and 6 months is reasonable to reduce the length of stay, rate of adverse events, and need for a transannular patch. In the majority of symptomatic neonates, both palliation and primary complete surgical correction are useful treatment options. It is reasonable to consider those with low birth weight or prematurity, small or discontinuous pulmonary arteries, chromosomal anomalies, other congenital anomalies, or other comorbidities such as intracranial hemorrhage, sepsis, or other end-organ compromise as high-risk patients. In these high-risk patients, palliation may be preferred; and, in patients with amenable anatomy, catheter-based procedures may prove favorable over surgical palliation.

      Conclusions

      Ongoing research will provide further insight into the role of catheter-based interventions. For complete surgical correction, both transatrial and transventricular approaches are effective; however, the smallest possible ventriculotomy should be utilized. When possible, the pulmonary valve should be spared; and if unsalvageable, reconstruction can be considered. At the conclusion of the operation, adequate relief of the right ventricular outflow obstruction should be confirmed, and identification of a significant fixed anatomical obstruction should prompt further intervention. Given our current knowledge and the gaps identified, we propose several key questions to be answered by future research and potentially by a TOF registry: When to palliate or proceed with complete surgical correction, as well as the ideal type of palliation; the optimal surgical approach for complete repair for the best long-term preservation of right ventricular function; and the utility, efficacy, and durability of various pulmonary valve preservation and reconstruction techniques.

      Key Words

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      AATS (American Association for Thoracic Surgery), BTT (Blalock-Taussig-Thomas shunt), CCRC (congenital cardiac research collaborative), COR (classification of recommendation), CTA (computed tomography angiography), ICU (intensive care unit), LAD (left anterior descending), LOE (level of evidence), LOS (length of stay), PA (pulmonary atresia), PDA (patent ductus arteriosus), PGE1 (prostaglandin E1), PHIS (Pediatric Health Information System), PS (pulmonary stenosis), RCA (right coronary artery), RV (right ventricle), RVOT (right ventricular outflow tract), t-RA (trans-right atrial), t-RV (trans-right ventricle), TAP (transannular patch), TOF (tetralogy of Fallot), VSD (ventricular septal defect)
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