Congenital heart defects are anatomical defects of the heart, including its valves and blood vessels, often occurring as early as on fetal development stage.
Once parents first hearing from a doctor “Your child has a congenital heart defect”, they feel as the world collapses in front of them. They experience fear, hopelessness, and helplessness. But shortly they find out that the diagnosis "congenital heart defect" is not a death sentence. Thanks to numerous medical and technical innovations, as well as to effectiveness of modern medical and surgical treatments, congenital heart disease is successfully cured, and about 90% of all the patients are able to reach mature age.
Congenital defects happen alone or in combination with each other. Congenital defects might occur directly after birth or develop hidden. They are a common cause of death in neonates and babies until one year. With age, the risk of death of this disease in children is reduced, but, nevertheless, still considerable. That is why congenital heart disease and its treatment is a top problem of pediatric cardiology.
In some cases, congenital defects are genetically conditioned but, mostly, birth defects occur due to external impact on a fetus in the prenatal stage of development. The first three months of pregnancy are particularly critical in terms of those issues. For example, having viruses or other diseases, alcohol consumption and drug use of the mother, receiving certain medication or excessive stress during pregnancy could cause congenital heart disease to future child. The father’s way of life before the child's conception is also of particular importance.
While some birth defects might be harmless and eventually spontaneously degenerate, there are also some severe and life-threatening forms of the disease.
Congenital heart defects might vary depending on degree of severity and a range of symptoms. Sometimes it is possible to diagnose relatively mild congenital defect in earlier stage and begin treatment timely.
Congenital heart defects have a number of internationally recognized classifications. In general, there are more than 2,000 different types of congenital heart disorders. Diagnosis methods and the ways of treatment varies accordingly. The most common birth defects are: ventricular septal defect (VSD); atrial septal defect (ASD); patent ductus arteriosus (PDA); aorta coarctation; aortic stenosis; pulmonary stenosis; and transposition of the great vessels (TGV).
Nowadays, congenital heart defects are treated successfully by medication and/or surgical method. Children's interventional cardiology has reached great success lately, and now it is possible to apply surgery for the defects considered inoperable before. Until recent time, open heart surgery was mostly applied. But now endovascular operations, when necessary tools are brought into the heart through blood vessels, are widely used to eliminate congenital heart defects. A success of congenital heart defects treatment depends primarily on timely diagnosis and qualified medical care, especially, when congenital heart defect is hidden.
Outpatient Pediatric Cardiology in our children's clinic provides a comprehensive diagnostic service. Our cardiologists are capable to diagnose multiple congenital defects using simple methods and without burdening a child unnecessarily. A team of experienced and attentive doctors and nurses do their best to make your child feel at home during their stay in a hospital. We will be happy to help your child to overcome congenital heart defect.