Tetralogy of Fallot is a complex heart condition that affects how blood moves through a baby’s heart. It’s a type of congenital heart condition, which means it’s a condition a baby is born with.
Babies with tetralogy of Fallot have four separate heart problems:
Some babies with tetralogy of Fallot also have pulmonary atresia. This is a condition in which the pulmonary valve does not open properly.
Because of these problems with the heart’s structure, not enough blood gets to the lungs. This means babies with tetralogy of Fallot don’t get enough oxygen to the cells in their body. For this reason, most babies need surgery soon after birth.
In some cases, tetralogy of Fallot is found before birth during an ultrasound or fetal echocardiogram.
When a baby is born with tetralogy of Fallot, they usually have symptoms shortly after birth. Symptoms may include:
Experts do not know what causes tetralogy of Fallot. The condition develops early in pregnancy when the heart is formed.
The treatment for pulmonary atresia may depend on your baby’s specific heart anatomy. Most babies need some type of treatment shortly after birth. Your care team at Arkansas Children’s is experienced in treating pulmonary atresia and will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options may include:
After treatment, babies with pulmonary atresia will need to have follow-up visits with a cardiologist (a heart doctor) into adulthood. Some children may need additional treatments or surgeries.
Length of hospital stay is variable depending on many factors, but the average is approximately two weeks.