Agile Global Health Blog

Have you heard about Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF)? – Part I

Jul 11, 2017 / Agile Global Health

Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF) is a complex heart defect that involves four different problems in the heart. To fully explain this complicated condition, we’ll address it in two separate posts. Today we’ll cover ToF, Part I!

What are the four problems that comprise ToF?

Together, these problems lead to a mixing up of blood entering and blood leaving the heart. Blood that is low in oxygen (“blue”) mixes with blood that is oxygen-rich (“red”). Babies born with ToF sometimes are called “blue babies” because their lack of oxygenated blood can make them look blue (cyanotic).

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of ToF may be present at birth or shortly afterward, and include:

What are “tet spells?”

Some babies with ToF experience “spells,” in which a sudden drop in blood oxygen level causes the baby to become very blue. During a tet spell the baby may also:

The exact cause of these episodes is not known. Tet spells can be triggered when a child is upset, has a low red blood cell count (anemia), or is dehydrated. Reducing a baby’s anxiety by anticipating what he/she needs to stop crying can help prevent tet spells.

What should an adult do during a baby’s tet spell?

Even if the child improves, a consultation with the treating doctor following a tet spell is mandatory.

That does it for our introduction to ToF. But for the rest of the story, including diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment life, be sure to watch this blog for our upcoming “Have you Heard about Tetralogy of Fallot? – Part II” post!

Image credit: A.D.A.M.

Agile Global Health

Agile Global Health (operating as A&K Global Health in select countries) is an Agile Health Systems company and a worldwide leader in realizing transparent, affordable, effective and innovative solutions to complex healthcare delivery challenges. We listen to local and national healthcare leaders in every country where we work, and then support their vision to improve their national health system’s accessibility, quality, and clinical outcomes. For patients, we connect you with the right care for your needs, from facilitating quality local and regional treatment to coordinating international medical travel; for healthcare funders and providers, we optimize your organizational impact by introducing transparency, control and customization to the medical, financial and experiential aspects of your clients’ medical journey. Contact us today to learn how we can support you.


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