Tetralogy of Fallot is a defect involving problems with the heart's structure at birth. This defect changes the normal flow
of blood through the heart. Tetralogy of Fallot is a defined to be the combination of four specific defects: (1) a hole in
the wall between the ventricles (two lower chambers of the heart), called a ventricular septal defect; (2) narrowing of the
tube that carries blood from the heart to the lungs, called pulmonary stenosis; (3) the aorta (the tube that carries oxygen-rich
blood to the body) grows from both ventricles, rather than from the left ventricle only; and (4) a thickened muscular wall
of the right ventricle, called right ventricular hypertrophy.
A specific cause for tetralogy of Fallot is unknown. Scientists generally agree that multiple causes seem to be involved.
For example, mothers who experience rubella or other viral illnesses during pregnancy have a higher risk of having a baby
with tetralogy of Fallot. In addition, scientists have found that mothers with poor nutrition, a history of alcohol use,
or diabetes, or who are older than 40 years of age might have a higher risk for having a baby with tetralogy of Fallot. Other
risks for this defect are thought to include: white race (there is a higher risk of tetralogy of Fallot among white babies
than among babies of other races or ethnicities); and possibly exposure to carbon monoxide.
Prevalence of Tetralogy of Fallot in Children Born to NJ Resident Mothers, Statewide Rates, 2000-2008
Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health;
Early Identification and Monitoring Program, Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services, Division of Family Health
Services, New Jersey Department of Health;
Number of children born with tetralogy of Fallot per 10,000 live births to women residing in New Jersey in a specified time
How We Calculated the Rates
Number of children born with tetralogy of Fallot among live births to women residing in New Jersey in a specified time interval.
Count of all live births to women residing in New Jersey in a specified time interval.
Page Content Updated On 07/31/13,
Published on 08/05/13
Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services, New Jersey Department of Health, PO Box 364, Trenton, NJ 08625-0364; Phone (609) 292-5676; Fax (609) 633-7820; Web: http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/index.shtml
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Phone: (609) 292-7837
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