Tetralogy (teh-TRAL-o-je) of Fallot (fah-LO) is a congenital heart defect. A congenital heart defect is a problem with the heart’s structure that’s present in the slightest. This type of heart defect changes the normal flow of blood through your heart. Tetralogy of Fallot is a rare, complex heart defect that happens in about 5 out of every 10,000 infants. It affects boys and girls alike. Tetralogy of Fallot entails four core defects:

A large ventricular septal defect (VSD).
Pulmonary (PULL-mon-ary) stenosis.
The heart has a wall which separates the two chambers onto the left side by the two chambers on its right side. This wall is called a septum. The septum prevents blood from mixing between the two sides of the heart. A VSD is a pit in the component of the septum that separates the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart. The hole allows oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle to mix with oxygen-poor blood in the right ventricle.

Pulmonary Stenosis
This flaw is a narrowing of the pulmonary valve and the passage through which blood flows from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery. Usually, oxygen-poor blood in the right ventricle flows through the pulmonary valve, into the pulmonary artery out to the lungs to pick up oxygen. In pulmonary stenosis, the heart needs to work harder than normal to pump blood vessels, and not enough blood reaches the lungs.

Right Ventricular Hypertrophy
This flaw occurs in case the ideal ventricle thickens since the heart has to pump harder than it should to move blood through the narrowed pulmonary valve.

Overriding Aorta
This is a flaw in the aorta, the main artery that conveys oxygen-rich blood into the body. In a healthy heart, the aorta is connected to the left ventricle. This allows merely oxygen-rich blood to flow into your system. In tetralogy of Fallot, the aorta is between the right and left ventricles, right over the VSD. As a result, oxygen-poor blood from the ideal ventricle flows right into the aorta as opposed to into the pulmonary artery to the lungs. Collectively, these four defects mean that insufficient blood is able to get to the lungs to get oxygen, and oxygen-poor blood flows out to the body.

Regular Heart and Heart With Tetralogy of Fallot
Figure A shows the arrangement and blood flow in the interior of a normal heart. Figure B shows a hub with the four defects of tetralogy of Fallot. Infants and children that have tetralogy of Fallot have episodes of cyanosis (si-a-NO-sis). This is really a bluish tint to skin, lips, and fingernails.


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