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Tetralogy of Fallot: Overview

What is Tetralogy of Fallot?

Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital heart defect that involves the incorrect formation of the septum between the right and left ventricles. This condition results in mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood across the ventricular septal defect inside the heart. This causes an overall decrease in the amount of oxygen in the blood.

The four functional heart problems that make up a tetralogy of Fallot are:

  • A hole between the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart. This is called a ventricular septal defect (VSD).
  • A blockage or kink in the pulmonary artery where blood flows from the heart to the lungs
  • The aorta, the largest blood vessel, lies over the VSD, the hole in the lower chambers of the heart
  • The muscle surrounding the lower right chamber is too thick

Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital heart condition, meaning children are born with it. The cause of the condition is not known. In some situations, it may be associated with certain genetic syndromes, like Di George syndrome.

Children usually show symptoms of the condition and are diagnosed shortly after birth. With treatment, kids with tetralogy of Fallot can lead normal, healthy lives. However, if your child has tetralogy of Fallot, he or she will need follow-up care to monitor any changes in the heart.

Learn more about our top-ranked Heart Institute for the treatment of this condition.