Tetralogy of Fallot

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Tetralogy of Fallot is a rare type of congenital heart disease caused by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth:

  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD), a hole in the heart
  • Pulmonary stenosis, a type of pulmonary valve disease caused by narrowing at or below the pulmonary valve
  • Right ventricular hypertrophy, when the muscle of the right ventricle is too thick 
  • Overriding aorta, in which the aorta partially covers the right ventricle


If you have tetralogy of Fallot, it is likely you were diagnosed as an infant. However, some adults are not diagnosed until later in life, especially if symptoms are mild.


Our Approach to Treating Tetralogy of Fallot

At Houston Methodist, our specialists have extensive expertise in the catheter-based procedures and open-heart surgical techniques needed to repair tetralogy of Fallot, as well as any of the complications commonly associated with this type of congenital heart disease.


In addition, our adult congenital heart experts within our Adult Congenital Heart Program are dedicated to providing the lifelong, specialized care needed to ensure you stay healthy and able to enjoy a good quality of life.


What Are the Symptoms of Tetralogy of Fallot?

By adulthood, most people have already undergone surgical repair of tetralogy of Fallot.


However, you may develop shortness of breath or decreased exercise capacity due to a leaky valve between your heart and lungs, which is called pulmonary valve regurgitation. Left untreated, this can lead to heart failure and arrhythmias. 


How Is Tetralogy of Fallot Treated?

Even after successful surgical repair early in life, long-term complications remain a possibility — so it’s important for those with tetralogy of Fallot to continue to seek specialized care throughout adulthood.


With frequent and optimal treatment from an adult congenital heart specialist, most people live a healthy, normal life.
When complications do occur, pulmonary valve regurgitation is one of the most common. In the past, multiple open-heart surgeries were often needed to replace a failing pulmonary valve during a person’s lifetime. However, advances have made treatment of this condition less invasive.


Valve surgery specialists at Houston Methodist are experts in the catheter-based procedures used to replace a defective pulmonary valve in patients with the right anatomy. 


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