Tetralogy of Fallot is a condition in which a child is born with
the following four different heart defects:
Normally the large blood vessel that carries blood to the body (aorta) receives
only oxygen-rich blood from the left side of the heart. With an overriding
aorta, the aorta gets blood from both lower chambers of the heart. This lets
oxygen-poor blood mix with oxygen-rich blood, allowing oxygen-poor blood to
flow to the body.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD). A ventricular septal defect is an opening in the heart wall
(septum). In tetralogy of Fallot, there is a very large opening in the wall
between the lower heart chambers (ventricles). This lets oxygen-poor blood mix
with oxygen-rich blood, allowing oxygen-poor blood to flow to the body.
Pulmonary stenosis. In tetralogy of Fallot,
there is also a narrowing (stenosis) of the pulmonary valve between the lower
right heart chamber and the pulmonary artery, which carries blood to the lungs.
The narrow valve lets less blood flow through the pulmonary artery to the
Thickened right lower chamber of the heart. Because the pulmonary valve is narrowed, it is more difficult for
blood to be pumped out of the lower right chamber of the heart. This makes the
heart chamber thicker.
A baby who has tetralogy of Fallot needs surgery to repair the defects.
People who have had tetralogy of Fallot surgically repaired can
usually do most normal activities. But competitive sports and strenuous exercise may need to be restricted. The person needs to be
closely monitored by a doctor to detect and treat any problems right
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
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