Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital heart defect that causes babies to have insufficient oxygen throughout their body.

Babies with the condition often have cyanosis, a bluish color to their skin due to the decreased oxygen levels in their bodies.

There are four distinct abnormalities associated with this defect:

  • A hole between the two lower chambers of the heart, called ventricular septal defect
  • The narrowing of the tube that connects the heart to the lungs, called pulmonary stenosis
  • The muscular thickening of the chamber that sends blood from the heart to the lungs, known as right ventricular hypertrophy
  • The displacement of the aorta, the vessel that sends blood from the heart to the body, over the ventricular septal defect, causing mixing of oxygenated and unoxygenated blood

The cause of the disorder is unknown.

Symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot

The signs of tetralogy of Fallot include:

  • Cyanosis (bluish skin) during agitation, such as crying or feeding
  • Difficulty feeding and failure to gain weight
  • Fainting
  • Poor development
  • Shortness of breath during cyanotic episodes

Diagnosis of Tetralogy of Fallot

Your UT Southwestern Medical Center doctor may perform several tests to diagnose tetralogy of Fallot. Common diagnostic tests include:

  • Blood oxygen content to show increase in red blood cell count
  • Echocardiography for confirmation of disease
  • Electrocardiography to visualize the right ventricle muscle thickening
  • Ultrasound to see if blood is flowing in right direction
  • X-rays with contrast to see if blood is flowing in the right direction

Tetralogy of Fallot Treatment Options

Surgery is required for tetralogy of Fallot repair. Surgery can include ventricular septal defect closure, removal of muscle from the right ventricle, pulmonic valve repair, or pulmonary artery enlargement. Surgery can be done temporarily in small infants, and then complete repair can follow when the baby is older.

Your child's physical activity and exertion should be regulated. Your child should also make regular visits to the cardiologist to ensure proper circulation.

Learn more about tetralogy of Fallot and other heart services provided at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a tetrology of Fallot expert at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.