Tetralogy of Fallot Repair

Tetralogy of Fallot repair requires an open heart procedure for correction. The cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute will perform the operation either soon after your child is born or, in some cases, later in infancy.

With advanced echocardiography, tetralogy of Fallot repair can be diagnosed earlier— often before your baby is born.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, 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 procedure to address tetralogy of Fallot.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s pediatric heart care among the best in the region. We provide quality care through our network of remote diagnostic and treatment services in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Pulmonary stenosis and ventricular septal defect repair

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.

Temporary repair

The cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute typically repair tetralogy of Fallot 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 done later. Surgeons remove the shunt during the later complete repair operation.

Why choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

No other congenital heart surgery program in Kentucky, Ohio or Southern Indiana is ranked higher by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons than the Norton Children’s Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • Our board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric cardiovascular surgeons are leaders in the field as clinicians and researchers.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute successfully performs more than 17,500 procedures a year.
  • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute among the best in the region after studying years of our patients’ outcomes and our ability to handle a range of pediatric heart conditions, including the most severe.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has satellite outpatient centers in Bowling Green, Frankfort, Owensboro and Paducah; 28 tele-echocardiography locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana; and six fetal echocardiography locations across Kentucky.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Hospital with subspecialty certification in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is under construction to give our patients the most advanced cardiac intensive care unit available.
  • Our multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together our specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, anesthesiology, cardiac critical care and other areas to create a complete care plan tailored for your child.
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Norton Children’s Heart Institute

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