Definition of Tetralogy of Fallot
Tetralogy of Fallot refers to a type of congenital heart defect. Congenital means present at birth.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Tetralogy of Fallot is classified as a cyanotic heart defect because the condition causes low oxygen levels in the blood. This leads to cyanosis (a bluish-purple color to the skin).
Signs and tests
A physical examination with a stethoscope almost always reveals a heart murmur.
Surgery to repair tetralogy of Fallot is done when the infant is very young. Sometimes more than one surgery is needed. When more than one surgery is used, the first surgery is done to help increase blood flow to the lungs.
Most cases can be corrected with surgery. Babies who have surgery usually do well. Ninety percent survive to adulthood and live active, healthy, and productive lives. Without surgery, death usually occurs by the time the person reaches age 20.
Kurt R. Schumacher, MD, Pediatric Cardiology, University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center, Ann Arbor, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/21/2009