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NeedyHearts NeedyHearts is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
CHD Treatment: Surgery - 01-15-2010, 01:33 AM

If your child has a large or complex congenital heart defect, he or she may need open-heart surgery. The kind of surgery will depend on what defect the child has. In general the types of surgery are:
  • Closing holes that have either formed or not closed. Usually, a patch or stitches are used.
  • Widening arteries or heart valves.
  • Returning the aorta or pulmonary arteries to the right position.
  • Repairing narrowed valves.
  • In rare cases, a heart transplant may be needed.
Be prepared for what to expect in the hospital. It may be shocking to see your newborn or child hooked up to so many machines and tubes. For example, your child will likely get medicines and fluids through an intravenous (IV) catheter. He or she may be on oxygen or a ventilator. Your child may have drains in the chest to remove fluids after surgery.

If your child is older, you can help your child be more comfortable and secure by preparing him or her for what to expect, asking questions, and letting him or her talk to the doctor too.

Surgery Choices
The type of surgery is determined by the defect and the surgeon's preference. Surgery is done for more complex defects or when catheterization cannot correct the defect.

What To Think About
Some congenital heart defects can be completely repaired with one surgery. Some of the more complex heart defects require several surgeries over several years.

Even after surgery, your child may still have symptoms such as weakness and a bluish tint (cyanosis) to the skin, lips, and nail beds. Your doctor may recommend limiting exercise or sports as your child gets older.
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