Tetralogy of Fallot | Research and Clinical Trials

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Contact the Congenital Heart Valve Program

In 1938, Boston Children’s Hospital’s cardiac surgeon Robert Gross, MD, performed the world’s first successful surgery to correct a child’s heart defect. Since then, we’ve been recognized around the globe for our leadership in pediatric cardiology, and we continue to make critical advances in the field.

Examples of our innovative approach to ToF, are given below.

Repairing pulmonary valves in ToF patients:

Children with ToF often have small pulmonary valves, which do not open properly, in need of repair. The standard treatment is to enlarge the valve by placing a patch across it, which can often leave a child with a leaky valve. To tackle this problem, doctors at Boston Children’s began a program aimed at trying to preserve the function of the pulmonary valve by using a balloon to enlarge and open it in the operating room. It is hoped that this technique will reduce the tendency for leakage from the pulmonary artery into the right ventricle, which can cause overwork and weakness of the ventricle over time.

A new prosthetic valve to treat congenital heart disease patients:

Boston Children’s was one of a small number of centers to test and first use the Medtronic Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve, a prosthetic valve developed to treat patients with congenital heart disease affecting the function of the pulmonary valve. This valve is very useful for some older patients who’ve developed significant pulmonary leakage (regurgitation) after repair of ToF. The valve is implanted through a catheter procedure, rather than a more invasive open-heart surgical procedure. This makes the child's recovery much easier and far less intensive.

Like other prosthetic valves, the Melody valve is likely to need replacement several times over the course of a patient's life due to wear and tear. However, since the Melody can be implanted through a catheter, there is minimal risk to the patient compared to valves that can only be implanted surgically.

Learn more about Boston Children’s cardiac surgery research initiatives and current projects in cardiology research.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944