baby in hospital intensive care unit (ICU) - tetralogy of fallot

Tetralogy of Fallot

What is Tetralogy of Fallot?

Tetralogy of Fallot (teh-tral-uh-jee of fah-low) is a rare congenital heart defect where four specific heart defects occur together and impact the flow of blood through the heart.

What are the four defects of Tetralogy of Fallot?

The four heart defects of Tetralogy of Fallot are:

What are the symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot?

Symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot can vary in severity and often get worse over time if not treated.

One of the most common symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot is cyanosis, bluish or greyish skin, nails or lips that begins very soon after birth and which is caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood. Sudden and rapid drops in oxygen during feeding or crying can also cause ‘tet spells’.

Other symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot include:

What causes Tetralogy of Fallot?

Tetralogy of Fallot and its associated defects occur during pregnancy when the baby’s heart is developing.

The causes of these defects are mostly unknown, but may include genetic causes or environmental factors during pregnancy.

How is Tetralogy of Fallot diagnosed?

Tetralogy of Fallot is mostly diagnosed either during pregnancy or soon after birth.

Tests to diagnose Tetralogy of Fallot may include:

How is Tetralogy of Fallot treated?

Treatment for Tetralogy of Fallot involves surgery to fix the defects and improve blood flow through the heart.

The surgical options are:

How can Tetralogy of Fallot be prevented?

As the causes of Tetralogy of Fallot are mostly unknown, prevention may not be possible.

It is however advisable to reduce the risk of Tetralogy of Fallot by taking the following steps:

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years