|A congenital heart defect can be as unique as the child that has it, and because of this, treatment of congenital heart defects varies.
No matter your child’s heart defect, the cardiology and heart surgery teams will work closely with you and your child’s primary care pediatrician. A team approach and a comprehensive treatment plan ensure the best health for your child.
Medical treatment of congenital heart defects
You and your child will meet with a cardiologist to discuss the best possible treatment plan based on your child’s unique condition. Treatment of a congenital heart defect may include one or many of the following:
Just like adults who have heart disease, your child can make lifestyle changes to help living with a congenital heart defect. Stress, caffeine and overworking can make a heart condition worse. Your cardiologist will work with you and your child to make sure your lifestyle habits create the best environment for your child.
Medications prescribed by cardiologists help with many things from helping your child’s heart beat normally to helping a heart transplant better grow with your child. There are many medications your child may be prescribed by their pediatric cardiologist. It’s important that only your child (or the person prescribed the medicine) always takes these medicines according to how they are prescribed. You should also always bring a complete list of your child’s medications to any medical appointment.
Cardiac catheterization, which is also used to diagnose heart defects, is a less invasive technique that can be used to place different implants, like stents or shunts, to make repairs to different areas of your child’s heart.
Watch a video and read more about the heart in the How the Heart Works section of our KidsHealth library.
Many medical implants can help treat your child’s congenital heart defect. Some implants are temporarily used if your child is young and/or needs to grow stronger before a more permanent surgery or treatment happens. Some implants include:
Many children with a congenital heart defect can be treated with one operation when they’re still an infant. A child with a more complex heart defect may need two or three surgeries during the first several years of their life.
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital is home to the top two pediatric heart surgeons in the region, the fastest-growing cardiology team in the region as well as multiple dedicated operating rooms and clinical space.
Children with more serious heart defects or issues may need heart transplantation, or a heart transplant. Our pediatric transplant team and coordinators will work closely with you, your child and the pediatric cardiologists and heart surgeons to help you learn about navigate this treatment option.
We treat the whole child, the whole family
The best possible care for your child often includes services beyond diagnosing and treating your child’s heart. Some of the services available to you and your family are:
Pastoral or religious guidance
Care coordination for when your child requires visits with multiple specialties
We treat pediatric congenital heart defects into adulthood
We understand that heart conditions have no age limit and that a child with a congenital heart defect will require very unique care as an adult. For patients over the age of 18, we offer the innovative treatment they need. If it’s the best option for your child, we will also help coordinate a shift to an adult doctor and will even continue to collaborate in the best interest of the patient.
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