Tetralogy of Fallot (say "fuh-LOH") is a type of congenital heart defect. Congenital heart defects are heart problems a baby is born with. These heart problems are usually diagnosed at or before birth.
Fallot is the name of a doctor who found this problem. A "tetralogy" is a group of four related things. So this heart problem is actually a set of four different defects in the baby's heart.
The heart has two main jobs: send oxygen-rich blood (red blood) from the lungs out to the body, and bring oxygen-poor blood (blue blood) from the body back to the lungs. The four defects in tetralogy of Fallot keep the heart from doing these jobs well. The defects include:
Your doctor may hear abnormal heart sounds, such as a heart murmur, when he or she examines your newborn.
Your doctor will order tests to find the cause of abnormal sounds or of symptoms. The most common test used to identify this defect is called an echocardiogram, or "echo" for short. It uses sound waves to make an image of your baby's heart.
Your baby may have other tests, such as an ECG or EKG (electrocardiogram), chest X-ray, and checking the amount of oxygen in the blood.
A fetal ultrasound, which lets your doctor see an image of your baby before birth, sometimes finds this defect.
Symptoms of tetralogy of Fallot may include:
Your doctor will help you understand your baby's condition, your treatment choices, and what to expect from each choice.
Your baby may get medicine that helps keep red blood flowing to the body. The medicine may be given through a blood vessel in the belly button.
Your baby will need open-heart surgery to repair the defects.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and
call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to
know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child
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Current as of:
October 13, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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