When your child is sick you do everything you can to help them feel better. When your child has a heart condition, you can trust Children’s Health℠ to do the same. Physicians at Children’s Health in conjunction with world-class subspecialists from UT Southwestern deliver expert care for this rare condition.
Tetralogy of Fallot happens when children are born with a group of four (tetralogy) congenital heart defects. These defects keep oxygen-poor blood from reaching the lungs where it would normally become oxygen-rich. As a result, oxygen-poor blood leaves the heart and flows through your child’s body.
Tetralogy of Fallot develops before birth. While there is no known cause, a child is at a higher risk for this condition if their mother experiences certain health problems during pregnancy.
In some cases, you may know your baby has tetralogy of Fallot before he or she is born. Some symptoms may show up during specialized testing offered through our fetal heart program. However, many children with tetralogy of Fallot develop symptoms shortly after birth.
Accurately diagnosing tetralogy of Fallot helps us make sure your child gets the treatment he or she needs as soon as possible – even on their first day of life. We start with a comprehensive exam, which may include one or more separate tests.
With years of experience and specialized equipment for our littlest patients, we specialize in fast and accurate testing. Learn more about the full range of tests we offer in our cardiac imaging department.
At Children’s Health, we deliver compassionate care that meets your child’s every need. From the moment your child is born, we are ready to deliver life-saving treatments.
In severe cases, a child’s oxygen levels become dangerously low, requiring immediate treatment with a medication called prostaglandin. Prostaglandin provides temporary relief by helping blood flow to the lungs until your child can have corrective surgery.
Long-term treatment for tetralogy of Fallot includes surgical repair, also known as intracardiac repair. Because children with tetralogy of Fallot are not getting enough blood flow and are at risk for life-threatening complications, we often perform surgery within the first year of life.
These procedures improve blood flow to the lungs and allow blood to get enough oxygen to meet the body’s needs. As a result, your child’s symptoms should go away right after surgery.
As one of the most active heart centers in the country, Children’s Health performs hundreds of heart surgeries every year. Learn more about our cardiothoracic surgery program.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Some conditions in pregnant women can increase a child’s risk of having tetralogy of Fallot. These conditions include: viral infections, diabetes, and alcoholism. For many cases there is no known cause.
Yes. Surgical repair of heart defects can increase blood flow to your child’s lungs and increase oxygen levels in the blood, relieving all symptoms.
Possibly. Your child’s pulmonary valve could narrow again or not close as completely over time. If this happens, he or she may need an additional surgery in their teens to widen or replace it.
Corrective surgery will greatly improve your child’s condition allowing him or her to have a very normal life.