The Unnatural History of the Ventricular Septal Defect Outcome Up to 40 Years After Surgical Closure
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BACKGROUND Few prospective data are available regarding long-term outcomes after surgical closure of a ventricular septal defect (VSD). OBJECTIVES The objective of this study was to investigate clinical outcomes >30 years after surgical VSD closure. METHODS Patients who underwent surgical VSD closure during childhood between 1968 and 1980 were reexamined every 10 years. In 2012, we invited eligible patients to undergo another examination, which included electrocardiography, Holter monitoring, echocardiography, bicycle ergometry, measurement of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, and subjective health assessment. RESULTS Cumulative survival was 86% at 40 years. Causes of mortality were arrhythmia, heart failure, endocarditis, during valvular surgery, pulmonary hypertension, noncardiac causes, and unknown causes. Cumulative event-free survival after surgery was 72% at 40 years. Symptomatic arrhythmias occurred in 13% of patients and surgical or catheterbased reinterventions in 12%. Prevalence of impaired right ventricular systolic function increased from 1% in 2001 to 17% in 2012 (p = 0.001). Left ventricular systolic function was impaired but stable in 21% of patients. Aortic regurgitation occurred more often in the last 20 years (p = 0.039), and mean exercise capacity decreased (p = 0.003). N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (median: 11.6 pmol/l [interquartile range: 7.0 to 19.8 pmol/l]) was elevated (>14 pmol/l) in 38% of patients. A concomitant cardiac lesion, for example, patent ductus arteriosus, and aortic cross-clamp time were determinants of late events (hazard ratio: 2.84 [95% confidence interval: 1.23 to 6.53] and hazard ratio: 1.47 per 10 min [95% confidence interval: 1.22 to 1.99], respectively). Patients rated their subjective health status significantly better than a reference population. CONCLUSIONS Survival up to 40 years after successful surgical VSD closure is slightly lower than in the general Dutch population. Morbidity is not negligible, especially in patients with a concomitant cardiac lesion. (C) 2015 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation.