Congenital heart disease refers to the range of birth defects that interfere with the normal working of the heart. In many cases, the holes in the heart do not need treatment but sometimes you may have to give some treatment.
Options for treatment
Depending on the severity of the condition and the health of the patient one can avail of congenital heart disease treatment. This will include the following:
- Open heart surgery
- Procedures involving catherization
- Heart transplant
In addition to the above, the patient will need to have life-long monitoring and treatment. In the initial years, this will be done by a paediatrician. The child can indulge in near normal activities. However, there is limit on what one can and should not do. They also need to be on the watch for infections as this is a serious threat.
Surgical options for treatment
Open heart surgery: In case the surgeon is not able to fix the hole in the heart with catheterization technique, he must undertake an open heart surgical procedure. Sometimes, minimally invasive techniques might suffice. In any case, the heart will be stopped temporarily and a heart-lung machine is used to circulate the blood during the procedure. In open heart surgery, the chest will be opened.
Use of medicines
When the defect in the heart cannot be repaired, then heart transplant is an option. If the congenital defect in the heart is minor, then one may use medication to fix the problem. Also, in case you cannot perform surgery to correct the congenital defect, then one must rely on medication.
Medicines commonly used include angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), and diuretics. The diuretics helps to ease the stress on the heart by lowering the heart rate and blood pressure. It also helps get rid of the fluid in the chest.
Risk of infection
Children who had a prosthetic device installed are at a higher risk of infection. Preventive antibiotics may be needed for the child. The child will face difficulties in life. These include the following:
- Developmental difficulties
- Emotional difficulties
- Joining support groups
Surgery cost of congenital heart defects in India is one-fourth that of the same in most European countries. But, this does not mean that there is a compromise in the quality. In fact, the facilities and quality of the medical treatment is as high if not higher than that in foreign countries. This has made India one of the prime medical tourist hubs in the world.
Help the child
The best way to help the child cope is to provide the support they need. Since there is no single cause for the congenital heart defects, you should first stop taking the blame for this. You can feel sad about having a child with a congenital heart defect. Take financial help where possible and if needed.
The infection in the heart is called endocarditis. Your child will have to watch for this infection all through his or her life. Antibiotics lower the risk of the child getting infections. Help the hospital staff care for your child as much as possible.