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Ask the Doctor:

Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

This handsome little guy looks healthy and happy. He has a wonderful smile for those he knows but he tends to be more of a serious baby. This little boy "was born with a heart condition that has been diagnosed as Tetralogy of the Fallot (TOF)." What medical requirements might this child have?

Tetralogy of Fallot is an anatomic misalignment of the heart. The abnormality is quite complex and left untreated these children will do poorly. This condition requires open heart surgery for correction. Surgical mortality is now quite low in most centers in the United States which means that all things being equal most kids do well. At Children's Hospital of Philadelphia it is recommended to have surgery in infancy 3-6 mo for optimal outcome before the children become
cyanotic (blue).

Residual homodynamic abnormalities are commonly seen afterward as well as abnormalities in cardiac function. These children require follow up also by the cardiologist since they are at risk for arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). They usually lead fairly normal lives but their hearts are never the same as a normal heart.

How well the children do is very dependent on factors which vary from child to child. It is therefore impossible to say with great assurity what someone's life will be like because a lot of times how someone does with a surgery depends on their personality and support.

I hope this has been helpful,

Dr James Reilly MD


The information and advice provided is intended to be general information, NOT as advice on how to deal with a particular child's situation and or problem. If your child has a specific problem you need to ask your pediatrician about it - only after a careful history and physical exam can a medical diagnosis and/or treatment plan be made. This Web site does not constitute a physician-patient relationship.

This material has been provided by AdoptionDoctors.com, an innovative adoption medicine private practice and educational service, dedicated to helping parents and adoption agencies with the complex pre-adoption medical issues of internationally adopted children. All medical interactions are performed via, e-mail, express mail, telephone, and fax. There is no need to make a live appointment or travel outside of your hometown. For more information, visit AdoptionDoctors.com or call 631-499-4114.

© Dr James Reilly MD

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