Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a heart condition of several (“tetralogy” refers to four) defects present at birth that occur due to abnormal development of the heart during pregnancy. TOF is one of the most common congenital heart defects.
- Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD): An opening in the wall that divides the two lower chambers of the heart known as the right and left ventricles.
- Overriding aorta: The aorta is moved to right side of the heart so that it sits over the ventricular septal defect.
- Pulmonary obstruction: A muscular obstruction in the right ventricle that lowers normal blood flow. Right ventricle becomes thickened as it tries to pump blood past the obstruction
What are the signs/symptoms?
- Cyanosis, a blue skin color indicating a decrease in oxygen in the bloodstream
What causes Tetralogy of Fallot?
At times, TOF may occur as part of a syndrome such as Down syndrome; however most of the time, this heart defect happens by chance.
How is Tetralogy of Fallot diagnosed?
TOF may be discovered during your child’s physical exam, while a pediatrician is listening to his/her heart. If a murmur (an abnormal heart sound) is detected, your child will be referred to a pediatric cardiologist for a diagnosis. Tests that a pediatric cardiologist may recommend include:
- Chest X-ray
- Echocardiogram (ECHO): A fetal echo is an ultrasound of your baby’s heart. A fetal echo checks your baby’s heart structure, rhythm, and function as well as the growth and development of your baby.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): An electrocardiogram checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart.
Treatment for Tetralogy of Fallot
If your baby is diagnosed with TOF, the treatment is surgical repair of the defects. The repair will permit the blood to travel its usual route through the pulmonary artery to receive oxygen.