The Five Ts of Cyanotic Heart Disease

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 16, 2013

Cyanotic heart disease is a congenital heart defect that results in low blood oxygen levels.

A graphic image of human heart

Cyanotic congenital heart disease (CCHD) is a heart defect which is indicated by a bluish tint to the skin called cyanosis. There are several defects that can cause this type of heart disease, including issues with the heart valves, an interruption in the aorta and thickened walls of the ventricles of the heart.

The most common cyanotic heart defects are referred to as 5 Ts. These include:

  • Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
  • Truncus Arteriosus
  • Tricuspid Atresia
  • Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC)

Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)

It is the most common cyanotic condition that is usually diagnosed within the first few weeks of birth. It is a serious but rare congenital defect in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are transposed. The defect changes the way blood circulates through the body, only to leave a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to body. As a consequence, the body is not able to perform functions. The usual treatment for transposition of the great arteries is corrective surgery soon after birth.

Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

Tetralogy of Fallot is the one of the best known cyanotic heart lesions. The condition is caused by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth. It not only affects the structure of the heart but also makes oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart.

Truncus Arteriosus

Truncus arteriosus is a congenital heart defect in which baby’s one large blood vessel leads out of the heart instead of two separate vessels that should come out. Moreover, the two lower chambers of the heart don’t have a portion of the wall that divides them. Because of the defect, oxygen-poor blood that goes to the lungs and oxygen-rich blood that goes to rest of the body is mixed. As a result, there are severe circulatory problems.

Tricuspid Atresia

It is a congenital heart defect in which one of the valves between two of the heart's chambers isn't formed. Also, there's solid tissue between the chambers. In the condition, blood can't flow through the heart and into the lungs to pick up oxygen as it normally would. Babies, who succumb to the condition tire easily, are often short of breath and have blue-tinged skin. Most babies who have surgery to treat the defect live well into adulthood, but sometimes follow-up surgeries are needed.

Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC)

In this condition, the blood does not take the normal route from the lungs to the heart and out to the body. But, the veins from the lungs attach to the heart in abnormal positions and this problem means that oxygenated blood enters or leaks into the wrong chamber. There is an obstruction of the pulmonary veins that tends to make infants breathe harder and look bluer owing to low oxygen levels. The defect must be surgically repaired in early infancy.



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