Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

A Comprehensive Note On TOF

The main function of your heart is to pump blood through the rest of your body. This blood gives your body nutrients and oxygen. If your heart doesn’t work properly, it may not be efficient in pumping blood to other organs. This affects the amount of oxygen getting to other bodily tissues. Sometimes, there are defects or problems with the heart when a person is born. These defects are known as congenital heart defects.

Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a congenital heart defect that can be fatal if it’s left untreated. It’s also known as “tet.” The “tetra” in the name of the condition comes from the four problems associated with it. The condition is named after Dr. Etienne Fallot.

The four heart defects associated with TOF are:

a hole between the right and left ventricles, which is also called a ventricular septal defect (VSD)
a narrow pulmonary outflow tract, which connects the heart with the lungs
a thickened right ventricle
an aorta that has a shifted orientation and lays over the VSD
The condition causes cyanosis. This means it causes the skin to have a bluish hue due to the lack of circulating oxygen. Typically, oxygenated blood gives the skin its pinkish hue.

TOF is rare, but it’s the most common cyanotic congenital heart disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot?
The symptoms of TOF may be present at birth or shortly afterward. They include:

a bluish skin color
clubbed fingers, or growths of skin and bone around the fingernails
problems with eating
failure to gain weight
developmental delays or problems
episodes of passing out

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of Tetralogy of Fallot?
The exact cause of TOF is unknown, but several risk factors have been associated with the condition. These include:

maternal alcoholism
maternal age that’s over 40
poor prenatal diet
People with TOF often have other congenital disorders such as Down syndrome.

How Is Tetralogy of Fallot Diagnosed?
Sometimes, a doctor will diagnose TOF while the baby is still in the mother’s uterus when a fetal ultrasound displays a heart abnormality. Your doctor can also diagnose it shortly after birth if they hear a murmur during a heart exam or if the baby’s skin color is bluish.

People most often receive a diagnosis in infancy, but if the defects aren’t severe, the symptoms may be minimal. This can delay diagnosis. Other times, the diagnosis comes later, such as when a parent notices something abnormal or during a regular visit to the pediatrician.

Tests that can aid in the diagnosis of TOF are:

a chest X-ray to check for structural abnormalities
an echocardiogram to check for disruptions in heartbeats
a heart MRI to check for structural problems
a pulse oximetry test to measure the oxygen level in the blood
a cardiac catheterization

Courtesy : Healthline

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