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How are congenital heart defects (CHD) cured?

Surgery can be considered a cure for congenital heart defects (CHD), and in many cases it is. Although it may require tying off extra blood vessels, sewing patches inside the heart to close holes or performing more involved procedures like moving arteries from improper location to proper location, surgery can restore the heart to a normal state (physiology). With more complex forms of CHD in which entire chambers of the heart are missing, surgeries won’t cure the defect but will help the heart function more normally and efficiently. In these cases, vast improvements can be made in the heart’s physiology and efficiency but nothing can be done to create a completely normal heart.

There is not a specific cure for heart birth defects, or congenital birth defects. Many defects can be corrected through surgery or other procedures, but they still usually require lifelong treatment and monitoring. For example, even though quality of life may improve dramatically after surgery, a child may still have restrictions on activity, or be required to take medication for the rest of their lives.

There are treatments to cure many common heart birth defects. Sometimes heart birth defects will need to be surgically repaired. Many heart birth defects will heal by themselves over time without any need for treatment. It is important that infants be followed with regular exams by their primary care doctor to monitor for any heart defects that may need treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.