Tetralogy of Fallot
Tetralogy of Fallot is one of the rarest congenital heart disorder basically found in newborn children that affect the four structures of the heart including the blood flow. It is quite rare and complex as it only occurs in 5 out of 10,000 newborn and doctors still have no idea what and how this heart defect occurs.
As the disease mostly found in children, there are certain speculations that states some abnormalities during pregnancy could be the reason behind Tetralogy of Fallot, while other factors are as follows:
- Maternal Alcoholism
- Maternal Age over 40
- Poor Prenatal Diet
- German Measles or some other viral disease
- Children with genetic disorders
A TOF child must be treated immediately as it can cause certain complications if left untreated. The child may not grow properly or the risk of infective endocarditis arises which may also result in disability or even death. Tetralogy of Fallot can be diagnosed through various painless tests performed by physician after witnessing the signs and symptoms of the child, which are:
- Heavy Breathing
- Being tired and limp
- Hearing issues
- Losing consciousness
Diagnose of Tetralogy of Fallot is done after thoroughly examining the physical appearance of the sick child. Certain physical tests done by pediatric cardiologist and cardiac surgeon include listening to the baby’s heart rate and lungs, taking a look at his/her skin, lips and fingernails, the breathing condition along with the child’s overall appearance. Other tests include Echocardiography; a test done through sound waves that shows captures a moving picture of the heart, allowing the doctor to clearly see the issue.
EKG, Chest X Ray, Pulse Oximetry and Cardiac Catheterization are some other test that helps the physician to find out the exact defects in the heart. Open heart surgery is also done soon after the birth or a couple of years later, depending on the child’s health and weight to repair the heart. These surgeries include Complete Intracardiac Repair and Temporary or Palliative Surgery.
The main aim of complete intracardiac repair surgery is to make sure oxygen rich and oxygen poor blood flows to the right directions. It is done by widening the pulmonary blood vessels and replacing or narrowing the pulmonary valve. Repair of the ventricular septal defect is also performed to stop the mixing of oxygen rich and oxygen poor blood by covering the hole in the septum.
Post Operative Care
The caring of a TOF child has become quite easier today than ever in the past due to advances in technology. However, there are certain things that need to be considered after the diagnosis of TOF, which are as follows:
- Proper nutrition and additional supplements advised by the physician
- Manage Tet Spells by reducing the anxiety level of the baby by taking care of the surroundings. For example, speaking in a calm voice and preventing the baby from crying
- Restriction from any outdoor activities that requires great physical strength
- Regular health and cardiac check ups
- Regular intakes of the prescriptions