Wednesday, July 04, 2018 by Ralph Flores
The tetralogy of Fallot (or ToF, the last word is pronounced fuh-LOW) refers to a rare, yet severe, condition where an infant has four heart defects at birth, which results in oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart and the rest of the body. Most infants with the condition have blue-tinged skin, a condition called cyanosis, as a result of the disorder.
Most cases of ToF are diagnosed during infancy or soon after, but some people experience the symptoms and are diagnosed much later in life. If the condition is diagnosed early, and appropriate measures have been undertaken, a lot of people with ToF live relatively normal lives, with only some restrictions on exercise and need for regular medical care.
The classic form of ToF includes four defects in the heart, as well as its blood vessels, including:
Like other forms of congenital heart defects, the cause of ToF is unclear. However, certain habits or diseases during pregnancy may increase the risk of the condition.
Children with ToF can also have chromosome disorders, including Down syndrome, Alagille syndrome, and DiGeorge syndrome.
Aside from cyanosis, which is an important sign of ToF, infants may exhibit what is called a “tet spell,” where oxygen levels in the blood drop dangerously low and cause the baby to become blue, after crying or having a bowel movement. ToF in infants can also cause symptoms such as:
If ToF isn’t treated during infancy, a child would pass out during exercise later on.
Another sign of ToF is the presence of heart murmurs, an unusual sound heard while listening to the heart, because of abnormal blood flow. However, not all heart murmurs are immediate signs of ToF, as these can occur even in healthy children.
Clubbing, the widening or rounding of skin or bone around the tips of the fingers, is another sign of ToF.
The following complications can result in people with ToF.
Little to no information exists on diets that can prevent ToF and other congenital heart defects. However, if a person has ToF, maintaining a healthy heart is an important aspect of good health. Here are some recommended food items for a healthy heart.
If a child is born with ToF, most healthcare professionals will recommend addressing the condition by surgery to improve his condition. This will involve widening the passage of the pulmonary valve and the pulmonary artery, as well as a patch over the ventricular septal defect. These actions will improve blood flow to the body, ensuring infants live healthy lives afterward. However, regular follow-up visits with a cardiologist are necessary to monitor their conditions.
The tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) is a rare, yet severe, condition where an infant has four heart defects at birth: ventricular septal defect, narrowed pulmonary outflow tract, overriding aorta, and right ventricular hypertrophy.
The etiology of ToF is unclear. However, certain habits or diseases during pregnancy may increase the risk of the condition.
Cyanosis is an important sign of ToF. Another symptom of ToF is a tet spell, where oxygen levels in the blood drop dangerously low and cause the baby to become blue.
Most healthcare professionals address ToF with surgery.
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