Congenital Heart Surgery

Congenital Heart Surgery

What is Congenital heart surgery?

    Congenital heart surgery addresses or manages a heart defect present in a child since birth. When a baby is born with one or more heart defects, it is termed congenital heart disease. Surgical intervention becomes necessary when the defect poses a potential threat to the child's long-term health and overall well-being.

    There exists a range of heart defects, varying in severity from minor to more serious, occurring either within the heart or in the large blood vessels surrounding it. Depending on the nature of the defect, some infants may require immediate surgery after birth, while others can safely postpone surgery for weeks, months, or even years.

    Correcting these congenital heart defects may involve a single surgical procedure, although sometimes a series of interventions is necessary. Three distinct techniques are commonly employed for repairing congenital heart defects in children:

    1. Open-heart surgery: This procedure entails making an incision through the breastbone (sternum) while the child is under general anaesthesia. Tubes are utilized to reroute the blood through a heart-lung bypass machine, which oxygenates the blood and maintains its warmth and circulation throughout the body. With the heart temporarily stopped, the surgeon can repair the heart muscle, valves, or blood vessels outside the heart. Once the repair is completed, the heart is restarted, and the bypass machine is removed before closing the breastbone and skin incision.

    2. Thoracotomy (Closed-heart surgery): For certain heart defect repairs, the incision is made on the side of the chest between the ribs. This approach, known as a thoracotomy, may utilize special instruments and a camera. Unlike open-heart surgery, a heart-lung bypass machine is typically unnecessary with this method, although it may not be suitable for all heart defects.

    3. Cardiac catheterization: This non-surgical approach involves inserting small tubes into an artery in the leg and guiding them to the heart. Referred to as cardiac catheterization, this method is applicable only for specific heart defects that can be addressed through this minimally invasive procedure.

    Why is Congenital heart surgery performed?

    The decision to perform the procedure is driven by the specific nature of the heart defect and its urgency. Some heart defects necessitate immediate repair shortly after birth, while for others, a more strategic approach involves waiting for weeks, months, or even years. Additionally, certain heart defects may not require surgical intervention.

    Common indicators that surgery may be necessary include:

    1. Cyanosis: Blue or grey skin, lips, and nail beds indicate insufficient oxygen in the blood (hypoxia).

    2. Difficulty breathing may be due to congested or fluid-filled lungs, leading to heart failure.

    3. Heart rhythm issues: Problems with heart rate or irregularities in heart rhythm (arrhythmias).

    4. Poor feeding or sleeping: Infants may exhibit difficulties in feeding and sleeping, accompanied by a lack of growth and developmental issues.

    In essence, the decision to proceed with surgery is guided by the presence of symptoms indicating compromised oxygenation, congestive heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities, or developmental challenges in the child.

    Speak to our team about congenital heart surgery

    If you are considering or have questions about congenital heart surgery, our dedicated team is here to provide information, support, and guidance tailored to your specific needs.

    Our experienced team of cardiac specialists is ready to discuss congenital heart surgery with you, address any concerns you may have, explain the surgical process in detail, and provide insights into the potential benefits and risks. Whether you are exploring treatment options, seeking clarification, or preparing for the surgery, our experts are committed to assisting you every step of the way.

    Feel free to reach out to schedule a consultation or discuss any questions about congenital heart surgery. Your well-being is our priority, and we are here to offer personalized information and support tailored to your circumstances. Contact us today to speak with our knowledgeable team and address concerns about congenital heart surgery.


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