Tetralogy of Fallot Specialist in Wichita, KS
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a complex heart problem that changes the normal blood flow through the heart.
TOF involves four heart defects:
- Ventricular septal defect (an opening between the two lower chamber of the heart)
- Pulmonic stenosis (a narrowed area within the main pulmonary artery)
- This makes it hard for blood to flow out of the right side of the heart
- This can lead to increased pressures in the right side of the heart
- Malpositioned or overriding aorta
- Ventricular hypertrophy (enlarged right ventricle)
TOF can result in oxygen-poor blood flowing to the left ventricle into the aorta and allowing “mixed” blood to flow to the rest of the body. Having un-oxygenated blood in circulation can lead to cyanosis or appearing pule/purple in color (a phenomenon known as “blue baby syndrome”). Other symptoms may include irritability and lethargy due to a lack of oxygen available in the bloodstream.
The most successful treatment is open-heart surgery. The surgical approach is individualized for each child based on age, anatomy, and symptoms. The surgery may be completed in two stages.
- Stage 1: Blalock-Taussig shunt
- An artificial tube is placed between the aorta and pulmonary artery to increase blood flow to the lungs
- Stage 1 or 2: Complete TOF repair
- The VSD opening is patched to prevent blood from shunting and the narrowing from the stenosis is widened to allow increased blood flow.