Font Size
A
A
A
...
7
...

Congenital Heart Defects (cont.)

Prevention

Congenital heart defects generally cannot be prevented.

If you or your partner has a congenital heart defect and you are planning to have a baby, see the topic Congenital Heart Defects: Pregnancy.

Women who plan to get pregnant and women who are pregnant can lower their risk of having babies with congenital heart defects by taking steps to have healthy pregnancies. For healthy pregnancy choices, see the topic Pregnancy.

Home Treatment

Congenital heart defects often are repaired with surgery or heart catheterization, but home treatment also plays an important role. Some of the issues you'll face include:

  • Coping with oxygen problems.
  • Getting your child to eat enough.
  • Giving medicines.
  • Caring for a child in the hospital.
  • Exercise restrictions.
  • Caring for yourself.
  • Dealing with family issues and medical insurance.

For more information and help, see Congenital Heart Defects: Caring for Your Child.

Adults who have congenital heart defects have other issues, such as pregnancy, birth control, and employment. For help, see Congenital Heart Defects in Adults.

Medications

Medicines often are needed to treat congenital heart defects until the defect can be repaired or corrected. Some children and adults need to take medicine even after the defect is repaired. Children with certain defects that cannot be completely corrected may have to take medicines for a long time.

Treatment with medicines depends on the:

  • Type of defect. Complex cyanotic heart defects usually need treatment with medicines more often than acyanotic heart defects.
  • Size of the defect. Children with large or complex defects are likely to have symptoms and may need medicines to relieve the symptoms.

Medicine choices

Medicines might be used to treat complications, relieve symptoms, or prevent problems. They might not treat the defect itself.

The following are some of the medicines used for heart defects.

To treat complications and relieve symptoms
  • Diuretics lower the amount of extra fluid in the body.
  • Digoxin increases the strength of the heartbeats.
  • Vasodilators widen blood vessels so blood can flow more easily.
  • Antiarrhythmics treat and prevent irregular heartbeats.
To treat a certain defect
To prevent problems

What to think about

Know how to give medicine safely. Your child's heart medicines are very strong and can be dangerous if they aren't given correctly. For help, see the topic Congenital Heart Defects: Caring for Your Child.

Next Page:
...
7
...

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary