Congenital heart defects are present in around 40,000 births each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although the causes for many types of these heart defects remains unknown, thanks to modern pediatric heart surgery, more children than ever are surviving into adulthood.
Because more and more children with congenital heart defects are living longer lives, understanding how these defects will impact them throughout their lives is becoming more important. Many people with a congenital heart defects can still lead full, normal lives. Here are three facts that children with a congenital heart defect should keep in mind as they grow older.
1. Not All Congenital Heart Defects Are the Same
Even among those born with a common heart defect, the exact nature of the defect and its symptoms can vary. Because of this, as a child grows older he or she should have a good understanding of the nature of their specific heart defect.
2. Pediatric Heart Surgery Isn’t a Cure
Pediatric heart surgery saves the lives of many children. However, heart surgery doesn’t remove the necessity for heart check-ups throughout a child’s life and into adulthood. Heart problems can continue throughout a person’s life even after a successful procedure. Aging and other health impacts that affect the heart can also play a part.
3. A Congenital Heart Defect Requires Lifelong Care
An adult who was diagnosed and treated for a congenital heart defect as a child should still have regular visits with cardiologists to monitor their heart’s health. Additionally, living a heart-healthy lifestyle is an even more important consideration for an adult with a congenital heart defect.