Tetralogy of Fallot
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Exercise Concerns

Those patients with unoperated Tetralogy of Fallot are usually fairly limited in their exercise capacities. The patient who has received effective treatment for this anomaly, in which both ventricles are functioning properly and hemodynamics (blood pressures and saturation of oxygen and other gases) are near normal, may have few exercise restrictions. However, their risk of sudden death needs to be determined before participation in competitive athletics.

Several variables concerning this defect make it imperative that the patient receives regular testing. The presence of residual defects or abnormal hemodynamics will lower the limits of safe exercise. Also, some symptoms may develop over time (e.g. arrhythmias and an increase in the size of the right ventricle) that will affect the tolerance for and safety of strenuous exercise. The age at which the repair operation was performed is a significant factor because the longer the pressure on the right ventricle remained high, the less tolerance for exercise there is likely to be.

Anyone with congenital heart disease, repaired or non-repaired, should consult with their cardiologist about physical activity to review the risks.