Congenital Heart Defect Treatment

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Congenital heart defects occur in five to 10 of every 1,000 babies born in the United States. About one-third of these babies have major defects that need surgery or have defects that may cause death during the first year of life. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill discusses treatment options for congenital heart defects.

Dr. Hill:

Most congenital heart defects are treated shortly after birth. Some may not need any treatment because they will heal on their own, and sometimes it is appropriate to delay treatment until a baby grows and can better tolerate surgery.

Treatment for congenital heart defects may include:

Heart catheterization, to diagnose or repair the defect before surgery can be done.

Medications, to control symptoms such as irregular heartbeats, or to strengthen the heartbeat until the defect can be repaired. Medications are sometimes needed even after the defect is repaired.

Surgery, to correct defects that cannot be repaired by a heart catheterization. Most heart surgery is done by the time the child is 2 to 4 years old. Corrective surgery may be done on a younger baby, especially if the condition is life-threatening.

With treatment, most people with congenital heart defects can lead fairly normal lives. Early diagnosis and medical intervention is necessary for the baby to thrive.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.