Surgery is done for more complex defects or when
catheterization cannot correct the defect. Or your child might need a combination of surgery and catheterization to fix a defect. The kind of surgery will depend on what defect the child has.
Some congenital heart defects can be completely repaired
with one surgery. Defects that are more complex often require several surgeries over time.
For someone with heart disease, diet is a big deal. Along with other healthy habits, it can slow or even partially reverse the narrowing of the heart's arteries and help prevent further complications.
You can help a loved one who has heart disease by adopting a diet that curbs LDL (''bad'') cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, lowers blood sugar, and helps with weight loss.
The best strategy: Focus on what the person with heart disease can eat, not just what's off-limits. Research shows that adding...
Prepare yourself for
what to expect at the hospital. It may be shocking to see your newborn or
child hooked up to so many machines and tubes.
If your child is older, you can help your child feel more
comfortable and secure by preparing him or her for what to expect. Your child's doctor or the hospital staff can help you prepare your child. Encourage your child to ask questions. And let him or her talk to the doctors too.
Repairing or replacing valves that are too tight or that leak too much.
Returning the aorta or pulmonary arteries to the
Repairing narrowed valves.
In rare cases, a heart transplant may be needed.
The type of surgery depends on the type of defect and the
What to think about
If a young baby (for example, newborn to age 3 months) has a life-threatening defect, surgery may be needed right away. For some
defects, the best time for surgery is before the child is 2 years old. For
other defects, the best time may be between the ages of 2 and 4.
In some cases,
surgery may be done when a child is older. Surgery may be delayed if the defect
is likely to heal on its own.
Some types of surgery are more invasive and take longer to recover from than others. Even after
surgery, your child may still have symptoms such as weakness and a bluish tint
(cyanosis) to the skin, lips, and nail beds.
After surgery, it's possible for symptoms to return or for complications to develop later. In these cases, more surgeries also may be needed.