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Tetralogy of Fallot

Tetralogy of Fallot

This is a rare condition that results from a combination of 4 heart defects that are congenital. Structure of the heart is affected in these defects. This leads to oxygen-poor blood to flow out of heart to the body. Blue-tinged skin is present in the infants and children with tetralogy of Fallot.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms depends upon the severity of the obstruction of blood flow out of heart to the lungs. It includes:

  • Cyanosis i-e bluish discoloration of the skin
  • Fainting
  • Rapid and shortness of breath, prominent during feeding and exercise.
  • Abnormal drumsticks like shape of the nail bed (clubbing of fingers and toes)
  • Poor weight gain
  • Irritability
  • Early fatigueablity
  • Heart murmurs
  • Prolonged crying
  • Tet spells i-e sudden development of deep blue skin after crying or feeding or when agitated.
Causes

This abnormality occur during fetal growth during the.development of heart. Factors such a poor maternal nutrition, viral disease or genetic disorders might increase the risk. However, in most of the cases cause of this condition is unknown. The abnormalities that make up tetralogy of fallot include:

  • Pulmonary valve stenosis.
  • Ventricular septal defect
  • Overriding aorta
  • Right ventricular hypertrophy
Complications
  • Infective endocarditis
  • Death or disability in early adulthood
Diagnosis

Diagnosis of tetralogy of fallot depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Along with this other tests include:

  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest Xray
  • Oxygen level measurement (pulse oximetry)
  • Cardiac catheterization
Treatment
  • The only effective treatment of this condition is surgery. Surgical options include: intracardiac repair or a temporary procedure that uses a shunt.
  • Before intracardiac repair some babies needs medication to keep the opening between two blood vessels in the heart open.
  • After surgery complications are common such as : Chronic pulmonary regurgitation, enlarged heart, arrhythmias, aortic root dilation, coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death.
Lifestyle and home remedies
  • Taking preventive antibiotics to prevent infections
  • Exercising
  • Although these heart defects won’t limit the women to be pregnant but pregnancy can increase the risk of complications
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