A congenital heart defect is a problem with how a child's heart
formed. The doctor fixed your child's heart defect through a cut, called an
incision, in the chest.
Your child will probably get tired easily
for several weeks after coming home. He or she may have a low fever at first.
This usually goes away in 1 or 2 days. Your child's chest will be sore for the
first few weeks. The doctor will teach you how to take care of your child's
incision. The incision will leave a scar that will fade with time.
Your child will probably need 1 to 2 months to fully recover.
Surgery to repair a congenital heart defect can be stressful for you and
your child. Your child's recovery will depend on the type of heart defect he or
she had. Your child may need more than one procedure or surgery to fix the
problem. He or she may need to take medicines and see a heart doctor throughout
life. But many children lead a normal, active life after the defect is
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it
will take for your child to recover. But each person recovers at a different
pace. Following the steps below can help your child recover as quickly as
possible. Your child's doctor also will give you care instructions.
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.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example,
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek
immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be
sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.
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Current as of:
January 27, 2016
Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.