Tetralogy of Fallow is a surgically, treatable disease characterized by all or a combination of at least four congenital birth defects. It accounts for 10% of all congenital heart defects that modify the formation of the heart. It also alters the way blood flows through the heart. Tetralogy of Fallow is usually diagnosed at birth or infancy and with surgery a child can live a relatively normal life. The prefix tetra means four and the term fallot is named after a French doctor who first discovered the disease in the 1800’s. Appropriately named after the discovery, Tetralogy of Fallow came about because of the four heart defects observed. One major complication that manifest from Tetralogy of Fallow is a lack of oxygen flowing out of the heart and into the rest of the body. The subsequent problem that this causes is poor oxygen transport leading to cyanosis or blue tinged skin. An infant may be acutely cyanotic at birth or may have cyanosis that gets progressively worse over the first year of life.
One of the four defects that are specific to Tetralogy of Fallow is referred to as a Ventricular Septal Defect. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; this defect is characterized by a hole in the septum (Schumacher 2011). The ventricles are the main chambers in the heart that pump and the hole usually occurs along the wall separating the two lower chambers or ventricles of the heart. In a normal heart, the septum functions to prevent blood from merging between the left and right sides of the heart. If the defect is large it creates pulmonary congestion from the increase workload from the heart. Small defects are virtually asymptomatic and sound like a murmur upon auscultation. Many ventricular septal defects close spontaneously within the first year of life.
The second defect seen in Tetralogy of Fallow is pulmonary stenosis. It presents as a narrowing or thickening of the pulmonary valve. There is loss valve wall elasticity and compliance, therefore, the valve is restricted and lacking the ability to open to its full capacity. This results in increased cardiac workload in attempt to get deoxygenated blood to the lungs. This obstruction causes a decrease in oxygen perfusion to the lungs also resulting in cyanosis. Newborns with severe narrowing are cyanotic. A characteristic murmur is usually always present. Severe pulmonary stenosis causes heart failure.
The third defect is Right Ventricular Hypertrophy, which causes a thicker than normal right ventricle. Right ventricular hypertrophy occurs because the heart pumping action becomes harder creating an increase in the hearts work load. Subsequently, this causes a thicker and more muscular heart muscle. This defect causes also causes a reduction in oxygen flowing to the body. The left side of the heart may be underdeveloped from increased work load on the right side of the heart.
The fourth and last defect involves an “overriding aorta.” According to the American Heart...