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Functional outcome in contemporary children and young adults with tetralogy of Fallot after repair


Objective Functional outcome measures are of growing importance in the aftercare of patients with congenital heart disease. This study addresses the functional status with regard to exercise capacity, health-related physical fitness (HRPF) and arterial stiffness in a recent cohort of children, adolescents and young adults with tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) after repair.

Design Single-centre, uncontrolled and prospective cohort study.

Setting Outpatient department of the German Heart Centre Munich; July 2014–January 2018.

Patients One hundred and six patients with ToF after repair (13.5±3.7 years, 40 females) were included. Data were compared with a recent cohort of healthy controls (HCs) (n=1700, 12.8±2.6 years, 833 females).

Main outcome measures Patients underwent a symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise test, performed an HRPF test (FitnessGram) and had an assessment of their arterial stiffness (Mobil-O-Graph).

Results Compared with HC, patients with ToF showed lower predicted Embedded Image O2 peak (ToF: 80.4% ± 16.8% vs HC: 102.6% ± 18.1%, p<0.001), impaired ventilatory efficiency (ToF: 29.6 ± 3.6 vs HC: 27.4 ± 2.9, p<0.001), chronotropic incompetence (ToF: 167 ± 17 bpm vs HC: 190 ± 17 bpm, p<0.001) and reduced HRPF (ToF z-score: −0.65 ± 0.87 vs HC z-score: 0.03 ± 0.65, p<0.001). Surrogates of arterial stiffness, central and peripheral systolic blood pressure, did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusions Contemporary children, adolescents and young adults with ToF still have functional limitations. How impaired HRPF and limited exercise capacity interact and how they can be modified needs to be evaluated in further intervention studies.

  • central blood pressure
  • fitness
  • congenital heart disease
  • fallot
  • exercise capacity

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