Heart and Blood Conditions

Tetralogy of Fallot Treatment

Tetralogy of Fallot must be repaired with open-heart surgery, either soon after birth or later in infancy. The timing depends on how severe your baby's condition is.

Tetralogy of Fallot Treatment Options

Repairing the defects with surgery

Most children with this kind of heart defect have a single surgery during infancy. Sometimes, more than one surgery is needed.

During surgery, the ventricular septal defect is closed with a patch, and the pulmonary stenosis is opened up.

Babies who have surgery usually do well. About 90% survive to adulthood and lead active lives.

Reducing cyanosis

If your newborn with tetralogy of Fallot has severe cyanosis, your doctor may give the baby fluids through a vein (intravenously, or by IV) and medicines that help improve blood flow.

Managing tet spells

If your baby or child has tet spells, your doctor will show you how to place the child in a knees-to-chest position. This position adjusts the pressure and blood flow in the heart. Older children usually squat spontaneously and do not have tet spells.

Improving blood flow to the lungs

Some babies have arteries in their lungs that are too small to receive much blood. Surgery may be needed to increase blood flow to their lungs so their arteries will get bigger before they can have surgery to correct the defects in their heart. Doctors do this by placing a shunt that directs more blood to the lungs. Later, these children have the second surgery to correct the defects in their heart.

New Treatments for Tetralogy of Fallot

Later in life, some children with tetralogy of Fallot need additional surgery to put in a new pulmonary valve. In the past, this required open-heart surgery. Now, in some cases, this can be done without having to perform open-heart surgery through cardiac catheterization or a hybrid procedure, using a device called the Melody transcatheter heart valve. This means a new pulmonary valve is placed through a narrow tube directed into your child’s heart. This avoids open-heart surgery and leads to quicker recovery. Our team at Seattle Children’s is participating in international studies to better understand which patients should have these procedures that involve cardiac catheterization.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program

To meet your child's long-term healthcare needs, we have a special Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program to transition your child to adult care when they're ready.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.