Learning that your baby may have been born with a heart defect (known as a congenital heart defect) is, naturally, very distressing. You want to make sure your child gets the right care, right away, from experienced specialists in children’s heart problems.
Some heart defects are discovered in the fetus (developing baby) while a woman is pregnant. Others are not found until birth or during the first few months of life. Signs and symptoms could include:
Less serious congenital heart defects may not be diagnosed until later in childhood, because your child may not have previously had any signs of a problem. If signs and symptoms are evident in older children, they may include:
Congenital heart defects affect the way blood flows through the heart and to the rest of the body. Defects can range from mild to life-threatening. Mercy Kids neonatologists and pediatric cardiologists are experts in diagnosing and treating congenital heart defects in infants. We care for babies with a range of heart problems, including:
Mercy pediatric cardiologists have the expertise and experience to treat and manage congenital heart defects to achieve the best possible outcomes for your baby. Mild congenital heart defects may not need treatment. More complex defects require highly specialized care.
Treatment options include:
Active surveillance: Children with mild heart defects may be monitored through regular checkups and tests to ensure the defect does not become a problem.
Medication: Our pediatric cardiologists may manage some congenital heart defects with medication to prevent complications.
Surgery: In complex cases, Mercy pediatric cardiologists diagnose and manage the child. Our partner pediatric cardiovascular surgeons perform surgery to correct the defect—often immediately after birth. Following surgery, children receive ongoing care at Mercy.
Depending on the type of defect, some children may need ongoing treatment and follow-up care.
Mercy understands how concerning congenital heart defects can be, and it is our goal to provide the best possible care for your baby’s heart at birth and throughout their childhood.