How is tetralogy of Fallot treated?
Surgery is the only definitive treatment for tetralogy of Fallot and babies diagnosed with this conditions will require heart surgery after birth to correct the heart defect. At Children's Hospital Colorado's Heart Institute, our doctors will likely schedule your child's surgery before he or she turns 1 year old.
Babies with milder forms of the condition may not require surgery for a few months after birth. However, babies with severe pulmonary valve stenosis or complete obstruction of the pulmonary valve will most likely require surgery as newborns.
What should I expect from surgery?
During surgery to repair tetralogy of Fallot, a pediatric cardiac surgeon will fix the hole between the ventricles (the ventricular septal defect) using a patch. The surgeon will also widen the pulmonary artery and fix any problems with the pulmonary valve. This repair will help more blood reach the lungs. The entire procedure is known as intra-cardiac repair.
If your child is too ill or too small for intra-cardiac repair, surgeons will use a temporary solution, called a shunt. This is a bypass from the aorta to the pulmonary artery, which will increase blood flow to the lungs until your child is big enough for the final procedure.
Your pediatric cardiologist at the Heart Institute will want to monitor your child for many years after the surgery to make sure there are no changes in your child’s heart.
Learn more about heart surgery for the treatment of tetralogy of Fallot.