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Treating Congenital Heart Disease

  • How is Atrial Septal Defect Treated?

    When an atrial septal defect is found, the paediatric cardiologist or paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon will examine the defect to decide if it needs to be closed. In many cases, even when the defect is not causing problems, it will still be closed to prevent future complications.

    When patients below 25 years old undergo a procedure to close the defect, they tend to have less complications and a normal lifespan is expected.

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    The atrial septal defect can either be closed through open surgery or through a catheter (a flexible tube). In most cases, a catheter closure is enough. In this procedure, the catheter is inserted into the heart through an artery in the groin. A small device attached to the catheter is used at the defective area to seal the hole before the catheter is removed.

    This is a form of minimally invasive surgery that is preferred over open surgery where the patient’s chest cavity is opened up. However, in rare cases where the defect cannot be closed by the catheter device, open surgery will be needed. Find out how atrial septal defect can be detected.

  • How is Ventricular Septal Defect Treated?

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    Most children born with a ventricular septal defect do not need surgical closure. After birth, the doctor may wish to observe the baby and see if the defect closes on its own. In cases where the defect is large or causing symptoms, surgical closure for babies tend to be done within the first year of their lives.

    Some ventricular septal defects can be closed through a catheter, a flexible tube which is inserted into an artery in the groin and guided into the heart. A small device attached to the catheter is used at the defective area to seal the hole before the catheter is removed. In cases that are limited by the location and size of the defect, open surgery is needed to complete the procedure. Find out how atrial septal defect can be detected.

  • How is Tetralogy of Fallot Treated?

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    Tetralogy of Fallot is a complex congenital heart condition that needs open surgery and usually done within the first year of the baby’s life. The surgeon inserts a patch into the heart to close the hole between the chambers of the heart, and the pulmonary valve is repaired or replaced, while the pulmonary arteries are widened to improve the blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

    Occasionally, especially for babies born prematurely, a temporary surgery may be needed before the baby is ready for this complex heart surgery. A bypass would be created to increase blood flow to the lungs, to be removed later when the baby is more developed and ready for heart surgery.

    While most babies can recover after a heart surgery, complications may occur which need further surgery, either during childhood or adulthood. After successful treatment, patients with tetralogy of Fallot will need lifelong care with a cardiologist who specialises in congenital heart disease. Find out how tetralogy of Fallot can be detected.

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