Understanding Tetralogy of Fallot: The Basics

When it comes to understanding congenital heart defects, Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is one of the most common. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the name, understanding the basics of this lifelong condition and how it’s treated can help you or someone close to you have a better quality of life. Read on for a basic overview of TOF and how it may affect you or your loved ones.
Understanding Tetralogy of Fallot: The Basics

Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) is a complex congenital heart disease consisting of four connecting heart defects. It is a relatively common form of childhood heart disease. These four key defects that make up a tetralogy of fallot are:

  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD): A hole in the wall between the two lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis: A narrowing of the outlet valve of the right ventricle.
  • Right ventricular hypertrophy: The walls of the right ventricle thicken, due to extra work.
  • Overriding aorta: The aorta is displaced to the right side of the heart, instead of the left, and sits across both ventricles.

The combination of these four defects cause increased pressure in the heart leading to reduced oxygen levels in the bloodstream and blue discoloration of the skin (cyanosis). ToF can be severe and require multiple operations or treatments depending on the severity. The aim of treatment for ToF is to reduce the symptoms and prevent further complications. Depending on the severity, this may include medications, lifestyle changes, oxygen treatments, and/or surgery.

We hope this article helped you get to grips with the basics of Tetralogy of Fallot. Remember that if you ever have any further questions, speak to your doctor, and they’ll be happy to help you out. With the right care, it is possible to lead a healthy life with Tetralogy Of Fallot.

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