Tetralogy of Fallot (the most common “blue” defect) is a combination of 4 signs: stenosis (narrowing) of the pulmonary artery up to complete closure of the lumen, dextroposition of the aorta (the aorta, as it were, sits astride the right and left ventricles, that is, it communicates with both of them), ventricular septal defect and hypertrophy (enlargement) of the right ventricle. It is accompanied from early childhood by persistent cyanosis and is compatible with a relatively long life.
Symptoms and course. Shortness of breath appears in childhood, traditionally associated with even a slight physical exertion, sometimes it has the character of suffocation. Children often seek relief in the squatting position, get used to sitting with their legs crossed under them, and sleeping with their knees pulled up to their stomachs. They are weak, chilly, they often faint and convulsions. The state of health is adversely affected by changes in atmospheric conditions, excessive heat, cold – shortness of breath increases, general weakness, cyanosis. Nervous disorders may appear. Babies have disorders of the digestive system, adolescents have palpitations, a feeling of heaviness in the region of the heart during muscle exertion. The physical development and growth of the baby is delayed, mental and sexual are late. Noteworthy are the inappropriately long and thin limbs, especially the lower ones. Important signs are cyanotic fingers, thickened in the form of drum sticks. A rough murmur is heard above the heart. Complications of the defect are coma associated with a decrease in the oxygen content in the blood, thrombosis, frequent pneumonia, infective endocarditis, heart failure. The average life expectancy is 12 years.