In 64 children with transposition of the great arteries who underwent a Blalock-Hanlon procedure, pre- and postoperative electrocardiograms were studied regarding the incidence and nature of rhythm disturbances. In another group of 19 patients with transposition of the great arteries, the atrial septal defect was created by a different surgical technique (fossa ovalis resection); this group was studied in the same way and the results were compared.
After the Blalock-Hanlon procedure seven patients developed arrhythmias including atrio-ventricular (A-V) dissociation, wandering pacemaker, bradycardia, atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia, supraventricular premature beats, and ectopic atrial rhythm. After fossa ovalis resection rhythm disturbances were present in three patients.
Despite their relatively high incidence it seems unlikely that arrhythmias are a major factor contributing to death irrespective of the technique used; some arrhythmias are transient and serious disturbances of long duration are rare.
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