- ASD: Atrial Septal Defect. This is generally a hole in the atrial septum, which separates the right and left atria or upper chambers of the heart. The child may have a murmur caused by the extra blood flowing across the pulmonary valve. Some experience shortness of breath and palpitations but no other outward symptoms.
- TOF: Tetralogy of Fallot (also sometimes called a TET in the field). This defect involves four anomalies of the heart’s structure A) A large ventricular septal defect or hole in the muscle wall separating the right and left ventricles. B) A narrowing of the outflow from the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery or valve. C) A thickening of the muscle wall of the right ventricle. D) The aorta is enlarged and basically overrides the ventricular septal defect. In presentation most of these infants will be cyanotic (or blue) in appearance and have some oxygen saturation issues (are not able to keep oxygen at a safe level without exterior oxygen provided).
All of these conditions have surgical components that may be suggested by your health care provider. There are many resources provided by the top Pediatric Hospitals in the United States to ease a parent’s worries and concerns. There are also useful support groups available, use these resources and do not try to navigate these waters on your own. Until next time – good health to you!