Congenital Heart Defects Treatment
Many heart defects are minor and require no treatment at all. They may only need regular health checkups. Some heart defects require only oral medications such as tablets or liquid medicine. Some holes in the heart and blocked valves can be treated without open-heart surgery using key-hole procedures. More complex heart problems may require surgery.
What are key-hole procedures?
Key-hole procedures involve a technique called cardiac catheterization where a small tube is inserted into the blood vessel at the top of the leg. This is then used to direct (send) catheters (tubes) into the various chambers of the heart. Sometimes these procedures are used to diagnose a problem (diagnostic catheterization) and at other times to treat the problem (interventional catheterization).
Illustration of Key-hole Procedure
What are the heart defects that can be corrected by key-hole procedures?
Some of the conditions that can be treated using this technique are atrial septal defect (hole between the top two chambers of the heart), ventricular septal defect (hole between the two bottom chambers of the heart), patent ductus arteriosus (extra connection between the lung artery and body artery), aortic stenosis and pulmonary stenosis (valves that do not open normally) and coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the body artery).
Types of key-hole procedures
Holes in the heart can be closed using an umbrella device. This device is placed across the hole and the two discs of the device open on either side of the hole sealing (closing) it completely. The device gradually becomes part of the heart, and the heart forms a lining or skin over the device. Device closure is a permanent treatment and the hole remains sealed even when the child’s heart grows.
Ballon Device Placement
Valves in the heart can become narrowed and these can be relieved using balloons which can be placed across the valve and expanded causing the valve to widen.
Sometimes major blood vessels or arteries can be blocked, and this can be treated by a procedure called stenting where a metal cage/tube is inserted across the narrowed part of the artery and helps to keep it open.