Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital heart defect. Discovery of tetralogy of Fallot heart can usually be detected through routine pregnancy scan while the baby still inside the womb. For some reason, Amelia’s heart defect was not detected.
There was no problem during pregnancy except there was one occasion during a routine scan, mummy’s heart rate was above 100bpm. This was nearer to full term. The doctor was concerned and admitted mummy to the hospital immediately. Lots of blood sample were taken for testing. The results were all good. No diabetic. She was discharged from the hospital the next day with one condition she has to maintain her heart rate below 90bpm otherwise she would be admitted to the hospital again. The doctor reckoned she was stress and told her to take it easy at work.
Amelia was born on the Tuesday of 06 December 2005 at 1713. She weight 3.6 kilograms. She was kept in the hospital together with mummy for a day.
Mummy noticed that her heartbeat was a bit loud but not aware of anything was wrong with her. Amelia was crying for milk at 1 – 3-hour interval every night. Each feed she only took about 1 – 2 ozs of formula milk. There were times where she had 6 ozs of milk at one feed but very rarely.
She showed no sign of blue spells or had any difficulty in breathing at all except she was sweaty after each feed like she had a full work out.
Amelia has a heart murmur
Discovery of tetralogy of Fallot in Amelia was when she was 6 weeks old at the clinic during her health checkup. The doctor said Amelia has a loud systolic heart murmur.
Grade 5 systolic murmur
Amelia was then being referred to a local hospital paediatrics department for further examination in North London. The paediatrician at the local hospital confirmed that Amelia has a grade 5 systolic murmur called Tetralogy of Fallot. Grade 5 in murmur gradations referred to very loud, with thrill. It may be heard when the stethoscope is partly off the chest during her heart contraction. The hospital issued the emergency card to Amelia there and then.
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH)
Concurrently, the hospital arranged Amelia to be examined by heart specialist doctors (the cardiologists) at the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in central London in the United Kingdom.
The cardiologist at GOSH confirmed that Amelia has tetralogy of Fallot. She would require corrective open-heart surgery Amelia would show blue baby symptom
which made her vomit. The frequency would increase to a point where she has difficulty keeping food down. At this point, heart surgery is necessary.
What is Tetralogy of Fallot?
According to GOSH’s publication, Tetralogy of Fallot is a group of four structural abnormalities within the heart that occur together.
- Pulmonary stenosis – a narrowing at, under or above the valve between the right pumping chamber (right ventricle) and the large blood vessel that carries blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen (pulmonary artery)
- Ventricular septal defect – a hole between the right and left pumping chambers (ventricles).
- Over-riding aorta – the entrance to the large blood vessel that takes blood away from the heart to the rest of the body (aorta) is next to the ventricular septal defect, allowing oxygen-poor blood to flow through it.
- Thick right ventricle – the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the narrowed pulmonary artery, causing the muscle to thicken
Amelia’s weight gain
The Cardiologists would like Amelia gains as much weight as possible before her heart surgery. Amelia’s weight gain progress was very slow and at an average of 1-2 ozs per week. Amelia was introduced to the solid food at three months old briefly. She vomited every time after her porridge then we stopped it completely. Thereafter, she was on formula milk only.