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Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital Heart Defects - Treatment Overview

The child's treatment will be based on the congenital heart defect, and the type of problem he or she has,and the child's age size,and the overall health which is important. Treatment for congenital heart disease helps children to live fairly normal lives. Medication is provided to help with the symptoms , certain medications control the heart beat of the child, and also makes the heart stronger until the defect is fixed, and even after the surgery.

There is a procedure called heart catherterization,which can repair the defect of the heart.

Surgery helps, to repair the structural defect, if the new born baby needs surgery , the doctor will delay it until the baby becomes stronger, surgery will be done only in case of an emergency.

The child will need to visit the paediatric cardiologist.


Caring for a child with a heart problem can be hard. You may need to keep track of the medication which is given by the doctor, the costs could be high.

What to think about

There are children who die from severe congenital heart defects, and related complications, such as heart failure, if the baby is born with a severe heart defect there could be a good chance that the baby will survive with treatment, there could be also a possibility that the child may die.

Congenital Heart Defects - Prevention

Generally congenital heart defects cannot be prevented

If you or your partner does have a congenital heart defects, and you are planning to have a baby. Women who plan to get pregnant and women who are already pregnant,can lower the risk of babies have congenital heart defects, by taking necessary steps to have a healthy pregnancy. Get in touch with a paediatrician to check on the pregnancy tips

Congenital Heart Defects - Medications

Medication is important, and are most needed to treat congenital heart defects, till the defect is repaired or corrected, most children and adults need to continue the medication even after the defect is repaired. Depending on the intensity of the defect in certain children, medication is still required, for a longer period of time.

Treatment with medicines depends on the:

  • Type of defect - Complex cyanotic heart defects, mostly need treatment with medication and more often than hypnotic heart defects.
  • Size of the defect -Depending on the size of the defect and the children with complex defects are likely to have symptoms and need medication to relive symptoms.

Medication choices

Certain medication , might be used to treat complications,help to relieve symptoms, or prevent them, and they might not treat the defect itself.

Medicines might be used to treat complications, relieve symptoms, or prevent prevent problems.

The following are some of the medicines used for heart defects.

  • To treat complications and relieve symptoms
  • Diuretics,which lower the amount of extra fluid in the body
  • The heart beats are strengthens by digoxin
  • Vasodilators are used to widen the vessels so that the blood can flow more easily
  • Antiarrhythmics which help and treat and prevent irregular heartbeats.

To treat a certain defect

Inhibitors,like prostaglandins , which help to keep open or close a fetal blood vessel, called ductus arteriosus , which normally closes at birth.

To prevent problems

Antibiotics, administered before a surgery helps to prevent endocarditis in some people. Blood thinners,like aspirin,or anticoagulants,which lower the risk of blood clots in the heart or in blood vessels.

What to think about

It is important that you know how to give the medication to your child, and giving it safely as heart medication is very strong and can be dangerous , if they aren't given correctly.

Congenital Heart Defects - Surgery

To repair congenital heart defects surgery is done, or when catherterization cannot rectify the defect , or either the child may need a combination of both to fix the defect, this kind of surgery will depend from case to case. There are some congenital heart defects,which can be completely repaired with just one surgery, other may depend on more than one surgery.

Preparing for surgery

It is difficult you see your little infant hooked up to so many machines and tubes. If your child is older than, you can help your child to feel more comfortable and secure and preparing him for what is to come. The nursing care at the hospital will help you to prepare your child.

Surgery choices

The type of choices that are associated with surgery in general are:
  • Closing holes or blood vessels that have either formed or not closed. Usually, a patch or stitches are used.
  • Widening arteries.
  • Repairing or replacing valves that are too tight or that leak too much.
  • Returning the aorta or pulmonary arteries to the right position.
  • Repairing narrowed valves.
  • In rare cases, a heart transplant may be needed.
  • The type of surgery depends on the type of defect and the surgeon's preference.

What to think about

If your child is an infant, and has a life -threatening defect, then surgery may be needed right away, and for some defects, the best time for surgery is usually before the child is 2 years old. If the child has other defects,the best time may be between the ages of 2-4.

In other cases surgery may be done when the child is older, surgery could be delayed if the defect is likely to heal on its own.

There are some type of surgeries which, are more invasive and which can take longer to recover than other general surgeries,if your child has completed the surgery, there may be still symptoms, like weakness and bluish tint(cyanosis) to the skin,lips and nail beds.

It is most likely that complications, and symptoms arise, and more surgeries are needed.

Congenital Heart Defects - Other Treatment

Other treatments associated with congenital heart defects are:

Heart catherterization-This method is used to correct certain congenital heart defects, especially in children so that they recover more quickly from a heart catherterization, procedure than from a surgery. This procedure a doctor threads a thin, flexible tube called a catheter through the blood-vessel typically in the groin, and into the heart, this helps the doctor to check the heart and treat the defect.