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Tetralogy of Fallot

Type of congenital heart defect / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), formerly known as Steno-Fallot tetralogy,[9] is a congenital heart defect characterized by four specific cardiac defects.[4] Classically, the four defects are:[4]

Quick facts: Tetralogy of Fallot, Other names, Specialty, ...
Tetralogy of Fallot
Other namesFallot’s syndrome, Fallot’s tetrad, Steno-Fallot tetralogy[1]
Diagram of a healthy heart and one with tetralogy of Fallot
SpecialtyCardiac surgery, pediatrics
SymptomsEpisodes of bluish color to the skin, difficulty breathing, heart murmur, finger clubbing[2]
ComplicationsIrregular heart rate, pulmonary regurgitation[3]
Usual onsetFrom birth[4]
Risk factorsAlcohol, diabetes, >40, rubella during pregnancy[5]
Diagnostic methodBased on symptoms, echocardiogram[6]
Differential diagnosisTransposition of the great arteries, Eisenmenger syndrome, Ebstein anomaly[7]
TreatmentOpen heart surgery[8]
Frequency1 in 2,000 babies[4]

At birth, children may be asymptomatic or present with many severe symptoms.[10] Later in infancy, there are typically episodes of bluish colour to the skin due to a lack of sufficient oxygenation, known as cyanosis.[2] When affected babies cry or have a bowel movement, they may undergo a "tet spell" where they turn cyanotic, have difficulty breathing, become limp, and occasionally lose consciousness.[2] Other symptoms may include a heart murmur, finger clubbing, and easy tiring upon breastfeeding.[2]

The cause of tetralogy of Fallot is typically not known.[5] Risk factors include a mother who uses alcohol, has diabetes, is over the age of 40, or gets rubella during pregnancy.[5]:62 It may also be associated with Down syndrome and other chromosomal defects that cause congenital heart defects.[11]

TOF is typically treated by open heart surgery in the first year of life.[8] The timing of surgery depends on the baby's symptoms and size.[8] The procedure involves increasing the size of the pulmonary valve and pulmonary arteries and repairing the ventricular septal defect.[8] In babies who are too small, a temporary surgery may be done with plans for a second surgery when the baby is bigger.[8] With proper care, most people who are affected live to be adults.[4] Long-term problems may include an irregular heart rate and pulmonary regurgitation.[3]

The prevalence of TOF is estimated to be anywhere from 0.02 to 0.04%.[4] Though males and females were initially thought to be affected equally, more recent studies have found males to be affected more than females.[4][12] It is the most common complex congenital heart defect, accounting for about 10 percent of cases.[13][14] It was initially described in 1671 by Niels Steensen.[1][15] A further description was published in 1888 by the French physician Étienne-Louis Arthur Fallot, after whom it is named.[1][16] The first total surgical repair was carried out in 1954.[3]