A congenital heart defect is a problem with how a child's heart formed. The defect can affect how blood flows through the heart or blood vessels. The heart may have a hole between its chambers, or a valve or artery may not have formed the right way. Or a heart valve, artery, or chamber may not have formed at all.
Some defects can be fixed using a thin tube called a catheter. This type of procedure does not require the doctor to make a cut (incision) in your child's chest. The doctor will put the catheter into a blood vessel, usually in your child's groin. The doctor will move the catheter through the blood vessel to the heart. Then the doctor will guide special tools through the catheter to fix the heart defect.
Having a child with a heart problem can be scary. You may feel overwhelmed. Learning as much you can about your child's treatment can help you feel better. You may also want to talk with other parents who have a child with similar problems.
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 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.
Having a procedure can be stressful both for your child and for you. This information will help you understand what you can expect and how to safely prepare for the procedure.
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Current as of: April 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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