Tetralogy of Fallot

Episode summary introduction:

We’re going to start this episode off with what Tetralogy of Fallot is. It is a congenital heart defect that consists of the following four heart defects. You need all four of these to have TOF, but you can also have additional congenital defects in addition to the 4 listed.

Topic 1:


1 in every 2518 babies born in the US each year have tetralogy of fallot

Tetralogy of Fallot is the most common cyanotic heart condition in children

It accounts for 7% to 10% of congenital defects

Affects males and females equally

Occurs in 3 to 5 of every 10,000 live births

Topic 2:

The cause of TOF is unknown. There are thoughts that it may be associated with poor maternal nutrition, genetic disorders or a viral illness during pregnancy. Symptoms are discussed.

Topic 3:

Treatment for TOF include:

  • Surgery, in the US this typically happens before 12 months of age

  • There are multiple surgeries that need to be done

  • Will have to be followed by Cardiologist familiar with CHD

  • Oral Medications to vasodilate vessels to allow for better blood flow

And Nursing considerations are discussed for TET spells.


The treatment currently used in ToF results in excellent long-term survival - 30 year survival ranges from 68.5% to 90.5%. There is still a need for research and understanding each aspect of TOF. It is important to remember that surgery for TOF is not curative, it is palliative; the structural disease continues to progress at a varying rate.







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