What is tetralogy of fallot?
Tetralogy of fallot is one of the most common congenital anomalies (birth defects) that affect the heart. It consists of the following four clinical criteria:
- Pulmonary stenosis: it means narrowing of the pulmonary artery just at the exit of the pulmonary artery from the right ventricle.
- Ventricular septal defect (VSD): it means a hole in the septum located between right and left ventricles.
- Right ventricular hypertrophy: it means thickening of the right ventricle's wall.
- An overriding aorta: in which the aorta lies over the ventricular septal defect instead of the left ventricle; so the aorta receives some deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle, which leads to decreased oxygen supply to the body tissues.
Babies with tetralogy of fallot usually manifested with cyanosis due to diminished tissue oxygenation; for the same reason they usually suffer from growth retardation as well as breathing problems, especially during night.
Surgical repair (open heart surgery) is the only therapeutic option for management of tetralogy of fallot, timing of surgery is detected by many factors such as manifested symptoms and the extent of damage. Anyway, the surgery is usually done in the first year of life, with post-operative follow up by echo-Doppler every 6 months for 5-7 years.