What are the treatment options for congenital heart defect (CHD)?

Treatment of CHD may vary depending on the complexity and type of defect one has. Simpler, less severe defects may not require any treatment. Certain defects, such as small holes, have the potential to correct themselves with time. 
Some defects require prompt treatment soon after the child is born. In addition, in some cases people may need multiple procedures and surgeries throughout the course of their lives. Most people with CHD need ongoing treatment and monitoring their whole lives even after the defect has been corrected. 
Potential treatments for congenital heart defects include:
  • Procedures using catheterization: These procedures allow defects to be corrected without opening the chest and heart during surgery. During a catheterization procedure, a small tube (catheter) is threaded into the heart via a leg vein. Small tools are guided to the defect through this tube and used to fix the problem. 
  • Open heart surgery: A lot of defects are repaired using open heart surgery. Open heart surgery involves opening the chest in order to fix the defect. Minimally invasive heart surgery can sometimes also be an option for some people. Minimally invasive heart surgery involves making small incisions between the ribs and then inserting tools to correct the defect. 
* Certain surgical or catheter procedures may need to be repeated or done in steps over the years in order to correct the defect completely *
  • Medications: Milder or later detected CHD may be treated with medications to help the heart function. Examples of medications that may be prescribed include, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, diuretics, and medications to help with any arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). 
  • Heart transplant: In more serious cases, where the defect cannot be fixed, a heart transplant is needed. 
  • Lifelong monitoring by a cardiologist: Even after corrective surgery, periodic visits with a cardiologist are required. 
  • Infection prevention measures: In certain cases, people with CHD may be at an increased risk for infection of the lining of the heart or heart valves (infective endocarditis). This is especially true for children who had a defect repaired by inserting a prosthetic device such as an artificial heart valve. These children may need to take antibiotics prophylactically before any surgeries or dental procedures to reduce the risk of infection.
congenital heart defect (CHD) treatment

  • "Congenital heart defects in children." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Jun. 2017. Web. 14 Sep. 2017.
  • “How are Congenital Heart Defects Treated?” National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 01 Jul. 2011. Web. 14 Sep. 2017. 
  • “Congenital Heart Disease Explained.” WebMD, 24 Aug. 2017. Web. 14 Sep. 2017. 


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