Tetralogy of Fallot
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
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Tetralogy of Fallot is the most common form of cyanotic congenital heart disease. Cyanosis is the abnormal bluish discoloration of the skin that occurs because of low levels of circulating oxygen in the blood. Tetralogy of Fallot consists of the combination of four different heart defects: a ventricular septal defect (VSD); obstructed outflow of blood from the right ventricle to the lungs (pulmonary stenosis); a displaced aorta, which causes blood to flow into the aorta from both the right and left ventricles (dextroposition or overriding aorta); and abnormal enlargement of the right ventricle (right ventricular hypertrophy). The severity of the symptoms is related to the degree of blood flow obstruction from the right ventricle.
The normal heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers, known as atria, are separated from each other by a fibrous partition known as the atrial septum. The two lower chambers are known as ventricles and are separated from each other by the ventricular septum. Valves connect the atria (left and right) to their respective ventricles. The valves allow for blood to be pumped through the chambers. Blood travels from the right ventricle through the pulmonary artery to the lungs where it receives oxygen. The blood returns to the heart through pulmonary veins and enters the left ventricle. The left ventricle sends the now oxygen-filled blood into the main artery of the body (aorta). The aorta sends the blood throughout the body.
If infants with tetralogy of Fallot are not treated, the symptoms usually become progressively more severe. Blood flow to the lungs may be further decreased and severe cyanosis may cause life-threatening complications. The exact cause of tetralogy of Fallot is not known.
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231-4596
Congenital Heart Anomalies, Support, Education, & Resources, Inc. (CHASER, Inc.)
2112 North Wilkins Road
Swanton, OH 43558
NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Information Center
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
Adult Congenital Heart Association
6757 Greene Street, Suite 335
Philadelphia, PA 19119-3508
Kids With Heart National Association for Children's Heart Disorders, Inc.
P.O Box 12504
Green Bay, WI 54307-2504
Little Hearts, Inc.
P.O. Box 171
110 Court Street, Suite 3A
Cromwell, CT 06416
Congenital Heart Information Network (C.H.I.N.)
101 N Washington Ave, Suite 1A 101 N Washington Ave, Suite 1A
Margate City, NJ 08402-1195
MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network
150 Custer Court
Green Bay, WI 54301-1243
Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
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