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Tetralogy of Fallot repair requires an open heart procedure. The cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, will perform the operation either soon after your child is born or, in some cases, later in infancy.
With advanced echocardiography, tetralogy of Fallot can be diagnosed earlier— often before your baby is born. That allows more time to prepare for the tetralogy of Fallot repair surgery.
Norton Children’s Heart Institute is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.
Our pediatric heart specialists will consider your baby’s health and weight, severity of the heart defects, and the severity of your child’s symptoms when determining the best time for a tetralogy of Fallot repair.
We provide quality care through our network of remote diagnostic and treatment services in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
Your child will be sedated (asleep). One of our pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists will give the sedation medication and closely monitor your child. During the open heart procedure, the surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute will repair the narrowed pulmonary valve and the ventricular septal defect (VSD).
Your child’s pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon will widen or replace the pulmonary valve and enlarge the connection from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery to improve blood flow to the lungs. The surgeon also will close the ventricular septal defect, typically with a patch that closes the hole and prevents oxygen-poor blood from mixing with oxygen-rich blood.
With blood reaching the lungs more easily, the enlarged right ventricle doesn’t have to pump as hard and its thickness reduces. The VSD repair allows only oxygen-rich blood to flow from the left ventricle to the aorta.
Correcting these two defects helps resolve symptoms related to decreased blood flow to the lungs and cyanosis, the blue discoloration seen in a patient’s lips, hands and feet.
The cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute typically perform a tetralogy of Fallot repair in infancy. However, some babies are too weak or too small for the surgery and must have a temporary procedure to improve oxygen levels in the blood.
In this situation, Norton Children’s Heart Institute pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons typically will install a small tube, or shunt, to connect one of the large arteries off the aorta to the pulmonary artery. This shunt provides a temporary passage for oxygen-poor blood to get to the lungs.
This temporary surgery gives your baby time to grow and become stronger so he or she can have the pulmonary stenosis and VSD repairs later. Surgeons remove the shunt during the later complete repair operation.