If your child has been diagnosed with congenital heart disease – a heart defect present at birth – your child’s care team will evaluate a range of treatment options. The same holds true if you are an adult who has grown up with congenital heart disease or who has only recently been diagnosed. Treatment options vary greatly depending on the type and severity of the heart defect.
A heart defect is the most common form of birth defects. Many heart defects can be treated to allow for a high quality of life. In fact, most congenital heart disease patients now survive to adulthood. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one million adults in the United States are now living as survivors of congenital heart disease. Now, there are actually more adults living with heart disease that were born with it than there are children with heart disease.
Not all congenital heart disease requires treatment. For those defects that do need to be treated, options for treatment generally consist of some combination of the following:
Medications for Children with Heart Disease
Children with heart disease, whether the disease is present at birth or acquired later, are often treated with medication. Click here to learn more about the most commonly prescribed medications for your child’s condition.
Interventional Procedures for Congenital Heart Disease
In the past 25 or so years, treatment of congenital heart disease has been revolutionized by the introduction of less invasive procedures. Click here to learn more about interventional procedures so you can better understand and discuss treatment options with your pediatric interventional cardiologist.
Surgery and Hybrid Procedures for Congenital Heart Disease
Sometimes open heart surgery is necessary to repair a child’s heart. Repairs may be made in a single surgical procedure – or in a series of operations. Sometimes, a combination of surgery and hybrid procedures is used to address a heart problem. Learn more about surgery and hybrid procedures here.
Every congenital heart disease patient is different, and treatment is individualized for each patient. See Common Heart Conditions in Children for descriptions of treatments for specific heart conditions.
The best treatment is an outgrowth of conversations between the affected child’s family and physicians and other medical professionals on the patient’s care team. See Personal Stories from Patients & Their Families for first-hand accounts of how well this type of teamwork can work.