Heart birth defects can often stunt growth. Children will often develop later and more slowly. Developmental milestones, such as walking and talking, may be delayed. Children with heart birth defects may need surgery, lifelong medications, or at the very least an awareness of their heart defect to avoid future complications down the line.
Andrew T. Ho, MD
- interventional cardiology
Location and Office HoursRiverside Cardiology Associates
Riverside, CA 92501
- Anthem Blue Cross of California
- Blue Shield of California
- CIGNA HealthCare
- Health Net
- PacifiCare/Secure Horizons
- United Healthcare, California
- Inland Valley Medical Center
- Loma Linda University Medical Center, East Campus
- Riverside Community Hospital
- How do heart birth defects affect the body?
How are heart birth defects diagnosed?
Heart birth defects can be diagnosed by a variety of tests. If a defect is suspected in an unborn baby, the doctor can do a fetal echocardiogram, or an ultrasound in the womb. After birth, a regular echocardiogram may be used. In addition, an electrocardiogram, which tests heart activity, may be used. Chest x-rays can show if there are issues with the heart, while pulse oximetry tests can tell if there is not enough oxygen in the blood. Lastly, a doctor may use a catheter to the heart to complete additional testing.
What medical history questions might my doctor ask related to heart health?
The first step in the process of diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease is a visit with your doctor to discuss your risk factors for developing cardiac disease, as well as any cardiac symptoms you may be having. As a part of this office visit, your physician will ask you about your personal and family medical history. For example:
- Have you ever been treated for high blood pressure, or been told that you have hypertension?
- Do you have diabetes?
- Have you been told you have high cholesterol?
- How much do you smoke?
Your doctor will also likely ask questions related to your family’s heart health such as the following:
- Has anyone in your family had a heart attack or stroke, and at what age?
- Has anyone been told they have coronary artery disease or heart disease?
- Has anyone had bypass surgery or undergone a procedure to have blockages in their arteries opened?
Your answers to these questions and others will help your physician determine your risk level for cardiovascular disease and whether gathering more information through tests may be beneficial.
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