The hope of all pediatric cardiologists is to try to create the most normal lifestyle for children who have congenital (present at birth) heart disease. Advances in surgical techniques as well as in interventional procedures performed via a thin tube called a catheter are bringing this goal in reach for more and more children. Of course, even with the substantial gains that have been made in treating congenital heart disease, there are situations in which some children may have limitations in terms of their activity levels. Your child’s cardiologist can discuss these limitations with you and clarify any questions you have.
Aland R. Fernandez, MD
- interventional cardiology
Location and Office HoursClearwater Cardiovascular & Interventional Consultants
Safety Harbor, FL 34695
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Can a child with congenital heart disease do everything other kids can do?
How is structural heart disease detected?
Detection of structural heart disease begins by obtaining a good family medical history and performing a physical examination. This first step often provides important clues. For example, a patient may be at greater risk for a structural heart condition if there is a family history of some sort of related heart conditions.
If structural heart disease is suspected, a patient may undergo a diagnostic study, the most common is an echocardiogram, or an ultrasound of the heart.
An echocardiogram can be performed two ways: on the surface of the body, where a jelly is applied to the chest and the probes are placed to obtain images of the heart (transthoracic echocardiogram, TTE) or by going down the throat (transesophageal echocardiogram, TEE). A TEE is more invasive, but the images tend to be more detailed.
What are the symptoms of congenital heart defects (CHD)?
Coleen Boyle, PhD, MS, Public Health, answered on behalf of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Signs and symptoms for congenital heart defects (CHD) depend on the type and severity of the particular defect. Some defects might have few or no signs or symptoms. Others might cause a baby to have the following symptoms:
See all Heart Disease questions
- Blue-tinted nails or lips
- Fast or troubled breathing
- Tiredness when feeding