Congenital Heart Defects | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are congenital heart defects diagnosed?

In some cases, congenital heart defects are discovered before a baby is born during a fetal ultrasound.

Some types of complex congenital heart defects are apparent shortly after birth. Less severe defects may not be found until the child is older. Some congenital heart defects are discovered after the doctor hears a heart murmur.

Depending on the child’s symptoms or heart murmur, the doctor may order one or more of the following tests to diagnose a congenital heart defect:

If your child has been diagnosed with a chromosomal or other genetic abnormality, genetic counseling is helpful to determine the risk of heart defects for other children you may have in the future.

What are the treatment options for congenital heart defects?

Treatment is based on the specific type of congenital heart defect your child has and the severity of the defect. Some mild heart defects don't require any treatment. Others can be treated with medications, interventional procedures or surgery.

In some cases, if a congenital heart defect is found prenatally, it’s possible to perform a procedure on the child before they are even born.

What is the long-term outlook for congenital heart defects?

The outlook for congenital heart defects is increasingly positive, even for the most complex problems. For more details about your child’s heart defect, search for the specific condition.