Tetralogy of Fallot

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Topics: Heart
Tetralogy of Fallot

Tetralogy of Fallot, abbreviated TOF, is a congenital heart defect that occurs within the hearts of infants and young children. The disease is named after the doctor who described the four heart defects common to several of his patients in 1888. It is present at birth and is usually diagnosed during infancy. There are times, though, that it may not be detected until later in life, depending on the severity of the defects and symptoms. The problems that occur within the heart cause the infants and children who have this disease to have a bluish tint of the skin, and are commonly given the name “blue baby.” It is a disease very rarely spoken of and rarely seen on a daily basis, but is the most common cyanotic heart defect that represents 55-70% of blue baby syndrome. Five out of every 10,000 babies are born with this disease, and early detection and treatment are the best ways of treatment. Depending on how early the disease is treated, a child can live into adult years. The signs and symptoms of TOF differ, and it depends on the level of difficulty of blood flow out of the right ventricle and into the lungs. Normal signs and symptoms include: * A blue color to the skin by the occurrence of low blood oxygen * Shortness of breath and tachypnea * Fainting * Loss of appetite * Reduced weight gain * Fatigue and limp during the day * Irritability * No response to voice or touch
With infants, blue skin will suddenly develop during crying, feeding, or upon awakening. This is due to the rapid drop of oxygen in the blood. To compensate, toddlers or older children may try to squat and catch their breaths, because squatting increases blood flow to the lungs and heart. When this happens, it is called a “Tet spell.” One other sign of this disease is a heart murmur, which is an unusual or extra sound heard by a doctor with a stethoscope or ultrasonography while listening to the sounds of a child’s heart.



Cited: Beers, Mark H. The Merck Manual 18th Edition. 18th ed. Whitehouse Station: Merck, 2006. Print. Gatzoulis, Michael A., and Daniel J. Murphy Jr., eds. The Adult with Tetralogy of Fallot (The Isaccd Monograph Series). Grand Rapids: Blackwell Limited, 2001. Print. "Tetralogy of Fallot - MayoClinic.com." Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living - MayoClinic.com. Mayo Clinic.com, 26 Jan. 2008. Web. Sept.-Oct. 2009. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tetralogy-of-fallot/DS00615>. "Tetralogy of Fallot -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 22 Oct. 2009. Web. 25 Oct. 2009. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetralogy_of_Fallot>. "Tetralogy of Fallot, congenital heart defect." National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. 01 Aug. 2009. Web. 01 Oct. 2009. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/tof/tof_what.html>.

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