Tetralogy of Fallot
Tetralogy of Fallot is a heart defect comprising a combination of four related defects of the heart and blood vessels. These four defects commonly occur together and are present at birth (congenital). They include:
- Ventricular septal defect (VSD):- It refers to a large malaligned hole between the right and left pumping chambers of the heart.
- Overriding aorta:-: In this the aortic valve is enlarged and appears to arise from both the left and right ventricles instead of the left ventricle as in a normal heart.
- Pulmonary stenosis:-It pertains to the narrowing of the pulmonary valve and outflow tract or area below the pulmonary valve that creates a blockage of blood flow from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery.
- Right ventricular hypertrophy:-: It refers to the thickening of the muscular walls of the right ventricle, which occurs because the right ventricle is pumping at high pressure.
It pertains to the narrowing of the pulmonary valve and outflow tract or area below the pulmonary valve that creates a blockage of blood flow from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery.
Symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot
Depending on the amount of blood flow that is blocked the symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot may vary. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Cyanosis or a bluish coloration of the skin caused by low blood oxygen levels
- Shortness of breath and rapid breathing
- Tiring easily during play or exercise
- Heart murmur
- Poor weight gain
- Prolonged crying
Tests such as electrocardiograms, Holter monitors, exercise stress tests, echocardiograms and CT pulmonary angiography, cardiac catheterization, cardiac MRI may be required.
Tetralogy of Fallot is treated surgically. If the baby is small or has other problems, a temporary procedure may be done at first followed by complete repair later. In other cases complete repair is done in the first operation itself.
Patients may need to have one or two surgeries in their lifetime. After the Tetralogy of Fallot is repaired, the patient will need regular follow-up with the cardiologist. Prescribed medication has to be taken to help the heart muscle contract or to control heart rhythm abnormalities