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Learning that your baby has a heart condition can be one of the hardest and scariest things you’ve ever faced.

Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a rare congenital (born with it) heart condition. When your baby has a “tet” spell, they can turn blue, go limp, struggle to breathe or have convulsions — especially after eating or pooping. It can leave you feeling helpless. But at Cleveland Clinic Children's, help is there.

If your baby has tetralogy of Fallot, they’ll need lifelong care from healthcare providers who know how to treat and manage this heart disorder. At Cleveland Clinic Children's, we treat thousands of babies, children and adults with congenital heart conditions like TOF. And outcomes for tetralogy of Fallot treatment are better than ever.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic Children’s for Tetralogy of Fallot Care?

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Comprehensive treatment:

A complex condition like TOF requires care from healthcare providers across different specialties throughout your child’s lifetime. At Cleveland Clinic Children's, our industry-leading pediatric specialists are ready to treat your child and easily transition their care as they reach the teen and adult years. Meet our team.

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Caring approach:

We take time to understand your child’s needs so they feel comfortable during every visit, test or procedure. You’ll also receive support from social workers, child life specialists, care coordinators and others to help your family throughout this journey.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic Children’s is a trusted healthcare leader. We’re recognized throughout the U.S. for our expertise and care.

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Innovation and research:

We actively research congenital heart conditions like tetralogy of Fallot. We study the latest and best treatments — and our discoveries pave the way for better medical care, surgery and long-term outcomes for children with TOF.

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Virtual visits:

When your child doesn’t feel good, getting them dressed and into the car can be stressful for both of you. If that’s the case, don’t worry. We offer virtual visits, where you can talk with your child’s providers from the comfort of home, using your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Tetralogy of Fallot Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

Our healthcare team will use various tests to diagnose your baby’s TOF so they can create the most personalized treatment plan. These tests could include:

  • Prenatal ultrasound: Your provider usually does this test between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy to check for anything unusual with the heart or other organs.
  • Fetal echocardiogram: This ultrasound helps diagnose TOF or other congenital heart conditions before birth.
  • Newborn exam: Soon after birth, your provider will give your baby a physical exam and listen to their heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Children with TOF may have a heart murmur (a whooshing sound when blood moves abnormally over their heart valves).
  • Pulse oximetry (Pulse ox): After your baby is born, our providers will put a painless clip on their toe or finger to measure the oxygen level in their blood. Many babies with TOF have levels that are lower than normal.
  • Echocardiogram (Echo): This painless, noninvasive ultrasound shows your baby’s heart’s structure and how blood pumps through it. This test helps your provider diagnose TOF or other heart conditions after your child is born.

Meet Our Team

At Cleveland Clinic Children's, your child’s TOF care team could include:


At Cleveland Clinic Children's, we're here when you need us most. Find a location near you.

Tetralogy of Fallot Treatment at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

If your baby has TOF, they’ll need surgery to repair it. Our team of congenital heart surgeons will usually do surgery within your child’s first year. But we also have experience doing this surgery on older children. Successful surgery can raise your child’s blood oxygen levels and improve blood flow through their heart and to their lungs.

Temporary treatment for tetralogy of Fallot

Our team will talk with you about the best time for your baby to have surgery. If your baby is premature or has other health conditions, we may recommend delaying your baby’s surgery.

In these cases, we may do a less invasive procedure to improve your baby’s symptoms until they’re ready for the complete surgical repair. Although these procedures won’t fix TOF, they can help increase your baby’s oxygen levels. These temporary treatments include:

  • Shunt procedure: Your provider may place a shunt (tube) in your baby’s pulmonary artery. This is a minimally invasive procedure that creates only a small incision (cut). The shunt lets more blood flow into their lungs.
  • Newborn stent procedure: Newborns have an artery called the ductus arteriosus that naturally closes soon after birth. Your provider can place a stent (mesh tube) in this artery to keep it from closing and increase blood flow to your baby’s lungs.

Long-term care for tetralogy of Fallot

Your child’s care doesn’t end after successful TOF surgery. Our team will provide complete medical care and support into adulthood, including:

  • Heart checkups from our experienced cardiologists.
  • Testing to see how their heart is working.
  • Mental health care or counseling if they have anxiety, depression or other mental health needs.
  • Recommendations for playing sports.
  • Resources and support groups to help you connect with others who understand your challenges.

Taking the Next Step

Having a new baby can be overwhelming enough. But when your baby has a serious heart disorder like tetralogy of Fallot, you might be left wondering how to handle it all. That’s where we come in. We’ll partner with you every step of the way — from your child’s birth and throughout adulthood. At Cleveland Clinic Children's, we’ll give your child — and you —the expert, compassionate care and support you need.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic Children's tetralogy of Fallot experts is easy. We’re here to help your child get the right care.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic Children's tetralogy of Fallot experts is easy. We’re here to help your child get the right care.

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