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Title The Surgical Decision in Tetralogy of Fallot: Weighing Risks and Benefits with Decision Analysis
Author(s) Arthur Garson, Jr, MD; G. Anthony Gorry, PhD; Dan G. McNamara, MD; Denton A. Colley, MD
Source American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 45, Pages 108-116
Publication Date January, 1980
Abstract The preferred management of the symptomatic infant less than 2 years old with Tetralogy of Fallot remains unsettled. In this study decision analysis was used to assess the risks and benefits of three courses of action: (1) primary intracardiac repair; (2) palliative operation in infancy and delayed intracardiac repair; and (3) treatment with propanolol in infancy and delayed intracardiac repair. For each action the likelihood was determined of three possible outcomes for the patient: (1) death, (2) poor surgical result, or (3) good surgical result. Each outcome was associated with an estimated life expectancy. The best action was defined as that resulting in the longest life expectancy. With use of previously reported data and those from experience at one institution, a range of probabilities was estimated for death before operation, surgical mortality, success of propanolol treatment and hemodynamic result of operation. The choice of action was affected most by the mortality of primary intracardiac repair and the likelihood of a good hemodynamic result from intracardiac repair. Less important factors were the outcome of a palliative operation and the likelihood of success with propanolol therapy. It was found that in the institution studied if the mortality rate of primary intracardiac repair is 10 percent or less, intracardiac repair should be performed; otherwise propanolol treatment, which allows delay in intracardiac repair, should be selected. Both alternatives are preferable to palliative operation. With decision analysis, the clinician can use probabilities and life expectancy appropriate to a given clinical setting in determining the best management for the infant with Tetralogy of Fallot.


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