Sex differences in patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot support a tailored approach for males and females: a cardiac magnetic resonance study


Hagdorn QAJ, Beurskens NEG, Gorter TM, Eshuis G, Hillege HL, Lui GK, Ceresnak SR, Chan FP, van Melle JP, Berger RMF, Willems TP.Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2020 May 30. doi: 10.1007/s10554-020-01900-x. Online ahead of print.PMID: 32472300



Purpose Substantial differences between sexes exist with respect to cardiovascular diseases, including congenital heart disease. Nevertheless, clinical decisions in the long-term follow-up of patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot (rTOF) are currently based on unisex thresholds for cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) measurements. This study aimed to assess whether sex differences exist in cardiac adaptation to hemodynamic loading conditions in patients with rTOF. Methods and Results This cross-sectional, two-center, combined pediatric and adult cohort included 320 rTOF patients (163 males, 51%) who underwent routine CMR. Despite similar age (median and interquartile range [m + IQR] 23.4 [15.2-34.4] years), surgical history, and hemodynamic loading, males with rTOF demonstrated higher biventricular CMR-derived volumes and masses, indexed for body surface area, compared to females (e.g. m + IQR right ventricular (RV) end-diastolic volume: males 123 [100-151] mL/m2, females 114 [94-131] mL/m2, P = 0.007). Sex-specific Z-scores of biventricular volumes and masses were similar for males and females. RV volumes and masses correlated with hemodynamic loading, but these relations did not differ between sexes. Biventricular ejection fraction (EF) appeared to be lower in male patients, compared to female patients (e.g. m + IQR RVEF: males 48 [43-54]%, females 52 [46-57]%, P < 0.001). Conclusion Indexed ventricular volumes and masses are higher in males with rTOF, compared to females, similar to the healthy population. RV hypertrophy and dilatation correlated to loading conditions similarly for both sexes. However, under comparable loading conditions, males demonstrated more severe functional impairment. These results indicate that sex-differences should no longer be ignored in treatment strategies, including timing of pulmonary valve replacement.