Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a rare disorder characterized by the combination of four separate heart defects present at birth. Tetralogy of Fallot is caused by multiple malformations of the heart. The four defects are: ventricular septal defect (VSD), right ventricular outflow obstruction, resultant right ventricular hypertrophy, and an aorta that lies above the VSD. This disorder affects the structure of the heart and causes oxygen-low blood to flow from the heart out into the body. Babies and young children with tetralogy of Fallot tend to have a bluish-tinged skin color due to the lack of oxygen within the blood.
The ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall that divides the ventricles allowing blood from both chambers to mix. The right ventricular outflow tract is blocked by a small pulmonary valve combination and a muscular narrowing beneath the valve. The thickened wall (hypertrophy) is due to increased pressure of the right ventricle. The aorta lies above the ventricular septal defect and transports blood from both chambers into the body. The volume of blood that reaches the lungs determines the degree of cyanosis (blueish hue of the skin).
Tetralogy of Fallot signs may vary, dependant on the extent to which the blood flow out of the right ventricle and into the lungs is obstructed. Some symptoms can include:
• A bluish hue of the skin caused by oxygen-poor blood
• Shortness of breath and rapid breathing, especially during feeding
• Clubbing of fingers and toes
• Poor weight gain
• Tiring easily during play
• Prolonged crying
• A heart murmur
Sometimes, babies with tetralogy of Fallot will abruptly develop bluish skin, lips, and nails after feeding, crying, having a bowel movement, or other actions. These episodes are referred to as “Tet spells” caused by a rapid plunge in the quantity of oxygen within the blood.
If your baby becomes blue, place your infant on its side immediately and pull their knees to their chest. Doing so will help to increase the blood flow to the lungs. Call 911 or a local emergency phone number immediately.
Heart defects present at birth (congenital heart defects) are a result of errors early in the heart’s development, but it is often hard to determine the exact cause. The use of antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Celexa, or Lexapro during all or part of the pregnancy doubles the risk of a congenital heart defect like tetralogy of Fallot
All infants diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot will require corrective surgery. Without treatment, the baby may not grow and develop correctly. The child is also at a greatly increased risk of severe complications, such as infective endocarditis, an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart caused by a bacterial infection. Untreated cases of tetralogy of Fallot typically develop severe complications over time, which can result in death or serious disability at early ages.
If your child was born with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) or other congenital heart defects and a SSRI such as Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil or Celexa was taken during all or part of the pregnancy, then call now for a free SSRI Antidepressant Lawsuit Consultation. You and your child may have a legal right to monetary compensation for damages and injuries. Call 1-800-883-9858 for your free legal consultation.