Tetralogy of Fallot is a rare, complex congenital heart defect. A congenital heart defect is a problem with the heart’s structure that’s present at birth.
Tetralogy of Fallot involves four heart defects:
Doctors diagnose tetralogy of Fallot based on a baby’s signs and symptoms, a physical exam, and the results from tests and procedures like Echocardiography , EKG , Chest X Ray , Pulse Oximetry , Cardiac Catheterization. Signs and symptoms of the heart defect usually occur during the first weeks of life.
Surgery is the only effective treatment for TOF. There are two types of surgery that may be performed, including intracardiac repair or a temporary procedure that uses a shunt. Most babies and children will have intracardiac repair.
TOF treatment for most babies involves a type of open-heart surgery called intracardiac repair. This surgery is typically performed during the first year of life. During this procedure, the surgeon places a patch over the ventricular septal defect to close the hole between the ventricles. He or she also repairs the narrowed pulmonary valve and widens the pulmonary arteries to increase blood flow to the lungs. After intracardiac repair, the oxygen level in the blood increases, and your baby’s symptoms will lessen.
Occasionally babies need to undergo temporary surgery before having intracardiac repair. If your baby was born prematurely or has pulmonary arteries that are underdeveloped (hypoplastic), doctors will create a bypass (shunt) between the aorta and pulmonary artery. This bypass increases blood flow to the lungs. When your baby is ready for intracardiac repair, the shunt is removed.
The TOF surgery as it is known as is safe if done by an experienced doctor at a good cardiac centre.