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Blalock-Taussig shunt

Blalock-Taussig (BT) shunt is a palliative procedure performed in patients with tetralogy of Fallot (prior to the ability to repair the defect) to increase the pulmonary blood flow. 

Originally the shunt sacrificed the subclavian artery (with a distal ligation) and the proximal portion is routed downwards to an end to side anastomosis with the ipsilateral branch of the pulmonary artery. The modified BT shunt nowadays uses a synthetic graft, usually polytetrafluoroethylene (Gore-Tex®). 

History and etymology

The procedure was named after Alfred Blalock (surgeon to first perform this procedure) and Helen Taussig (paediatric cardiologist, who designed the shunt). It was first performed in November 1944 at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland (USA).

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Congenital heart disease

There is more than one way to present the variety of congenital heart diseases. Whichever way they are categorised, it is helpful to have a working understanding of normal and fetal circulation, as well as an understanding of the segmental approach to imaging in congenital heart disease.

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