Multi-detector computed tomography in the assessment of tetralogy of Fallot patients: is it a must?

Shaaban M, Tantawy S, Elkafrawy F, Haroun D, Romeih S, Elmozy W.
Egypt Heart J. 2020 Apr 3;72(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s43044-020-00047-3. Review.
PMID: 32266511 Free PMC Article
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Background: Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) accounts for 10% of all CHD. It classically consists of ventricular septal defect (VSD), aortic overriding, right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) obstruction, and RV hypertrophy. There are many anatomic variants, associated intracardiac and extracardiac anomalies that must be taken into consideration when imaging and planning the surgical procedure needed. Multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT), with its high spatial and temporal resolution, has a pivotal role in the evaluation of complex anatomical findings in both unrepaired and repaired TOF patients.

Main body: Though MDCT has a limited role in the initial diagnosis of TOF, it is particularly important when there is a question about anatomy of pulmonary arteries (PAs) (whether sizable, hypoplastic, or atretic), presence of major aorto-pulmonary collaterals (MAPCAs) and presence of additional VSDs. Additionally, MDCT is crucial in the diagnosis of different anatomical variants of TOF. TOF patients with absent pulmonary valve classically have hugely dilated PAs which raise an important question about the degree and severity of airways compression. This question can be accurately answered by MDCT. TOF with double-outlet RV (DORV) has variable degrees of aortic override which can be assessed by MDCT. An atrio-ventricular septal defect (AVSD) is seen in about 13% of TOF cases and typically occurs in patients with Down syndrome. MDCT can assess the size and extent of inlet VSD and size of both ventricles (balanced or unbalanced AVSD). Coronary artery anomalies are common and important association. MDCT can identify the presence of a major coronary artery crossing the RVOT, a left anterior descending (LAD) from RCA, or a dual LAD. The clinical importance of these anomalies is its susceptibility to injury during ventriculotomy incision required for TOF repair necessitating changing the usual approach of surgery. Patients with reduced pulmonary blood flow undergo a systemic to pulmonary shunt. MDCT can assess the patency of the shunt, stenotic, or occluded segments. In surgically repaired TOF patients, MDCT can identify the sequalae and long-term complications including residual RVOT obstruction, conduit stenosis, RVOT patch aneurysm, RVH, and aortic root dilatation.

Conclusion: MDCT is a safe and reliable imaging modality that provides accurate assessment of anatomical variants and associated anomalies of TOF.