Prognosis for Infants and Children with Tetralogy of Fallow

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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 clos...

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...f a small ventricular septal defect, the hole is closed during a cardiac catherization.
In conclusion, the prognosis for infants and children with Tetralogy of Fallow is good with surgical treatment. The benefits to the complete repair help infants to have a virtually normal functioning heart. Even though most children do well for many years after the surgery, there are a small number of children who need subsequent operations. Children with tetralogy of fallow are followed by a cardiologists are many years after the initial diagnosis.

References

Hockenberry, M., Wilson, D., Wong, D. (2013). Essentials of Pediatric Nursing. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Mosby.
Matteson, S., Smith, J., (2011). Core Curriculum for Maternal Newborn Nursing. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier
Shumacker, (2014). What is Tetralogy of Fallow. Retrieved from http://nhlbi.nih.gov.

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