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Follow-up of tetralogy of Fallot patients: tertiary centre versus satellite clinic

  • Camille L. Hancock Friesen (a1) (a2) (a3), Mark Robertson (a1) (a3), David Liu (a1) (a3), Haley Burton (a2), Katherine Fleming (a1) (a3), Simon Jackson (a1) (a4) (a3) and Andrew E. Warren (a1) (a5) (a3)...



Canadian Cardiovascular Society consensus guidelines recommend that tetralogy of Fallot patients be seen by a congenital cardiologist every 2 years. In Atlantic Canada, tetralogy of Fallot patients are followed up at either tertiary or satellite clinics, which are held in the community and attended by paediatric cardiologists. The effectiveness of satellite clinics in congenital cardiac disease follow-up is unproven. Our objective was to compare patient-reported quality of life measures to determine whether these were impacted by the site of follow-up.


We included patients with tetralogy of Fallot undergoing surgical repair at the Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre from 1 November, 1972 to 31 May, 2002. Quality of life surveys, SF-10 or SF-36v2, were administered to consenting patients. We analysed the subjective health status by patient age and site of follow-up.


Of the 184 eligible patients, 72 were lost to follow-up. Of the locatable patients, 61% completed the questionnaires. In all, 90% (101 out of 112) were followed up at recommended intervals. Of the 112 (68%) patients, 76 were followed up at a tertiary clinic. These patients were older, with a mean age of 18.4 years versus 14.7 years, and scored higher on the SF-36 physical component summary (52.6 versus 45.7, p = 0.02) compared with satellite clinic patients. The SF-36 mental component summary scores were similar for patients regardless of the site of follow-up. SF-10 physical and psychosocial scores were similar regardless of the site of follow-up.


Tetralogy of Fallot patients followed at either satellite or tertiary clinics have similar subjective health status.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Dr C. L. Hancock Friesen, Department of Surgery, Head Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Dalhousie University, 2269-1796 Summer Street, Halifax, NS, B3H 3A7 Canada. Tel: (902)473-7597; Fax: (902)473-4448; E-mail:


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