Atrioventricular septal defect is a hole in the centre of the heart. The hole is where the four chambers of the heart normally would meet. The opening is caused because the heart tissue did not join together during the growth of the fetus. While this hole is there, blood doesn't flow as well as it should. This can make your baby's heart pump harder.
This is a congenital heart defect. This means your baby was born with it.
Your baby may need special care, such as being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This may be scary for you. But the hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.
Your baby may get medicine. It may include medicines given through a blood vessel. This is often done through the belly button.
Your baby will need surgery. The doctor will close the hole with patches that become part of the heart. The heart valves are separated to make them as normal as possible. Your baby will be asleep during the surgery.
The surgery is usually done when a baby is 4 to 6 months old. Your baby will probably be in the hospital during this time. If you can go home with your baby, you'll get instructions on how to care for him or her.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
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Current as of: July 22, 2018
Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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