Congenital heart defect – corrective surgery medlineplus medical encyclopedia m gasol

• Before birth, the baby has a blood vessel that runs between the aorta (the main artery to the body) and the pulmonary artery (the main artery to the lungs), called the ductus arteriosus. This small vessel most often closes shortly after birth when the baby starts to breathe on their own. If it does not close. It is called a patent ductus arteriosus. This could cause problems later in life.

• Sometimes the PDA can be closed with a procedure that does not involve surgery. The procedure is most often done in a laboratory that uses x-rays. In this procedure, the surgeon makes a small cut in the groin. A wire and tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery in the leg and passed it up to the heart. Then, a small metal coil or another device is passed through the catheter into the infant’s ductus arteriosus artery. The coil or other device blocks the blood flow, and this corrects the problem.

• Another method is to make a small surgical cut on the left side of the chest. The surgeon finds the PDA and then ties off or clips the ductus arteriosus, or divides and cuts it. Tying off the ductus arteriosus is called ligation. This procedure may be done in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

• Coarctation of the aorta occurs when a part of the aorta has a very narrow section. The shape looks like an hourglass timer. The narrowing makes it difficult for blood to get through to the lower extremities. Over time, it can lead to problems such as extremely high blood pressure.

• A third way to repair this problem is called a subclavian flap. First, a cut is made in the narrow part of the aorta. Then, a patch is taken from the left subclavian artery (the artery to the arm) to enlarge the narrow section of the aorta.

• A newer method does not require surgery. A small wire is placed through an artery in the groin and up to the aorta. A small balloon is then opened up in the narrow area. A stent or small tube is left there to help keep the artery open. The procedure is done in a laboratory with x-rays. This procedure is often used when the coarctation reoccurs after it has been fixed.

• The atrial septum is the wall between the left and right atria (upper chambers) of the heart. A hole in that wall is called an ASD. In the presence of this defect, blood with and without oxygen can be mixed up and over time, cause medical problems and arrhythmias.

• Sometimes, an ASD can be closed without open-heart surgery. First, the surgeon makes a tiny cut in the groin. Then the surgeon inserts a wire into a blood vessel that goes to the heart. Next, two small umbrella-shaped "clamshell" devices are placed on the right and left sides of the septum. These two devices are attached to each other. This closes the hole in the heart. Not all medical centers do this procedure.

• The ventricular septum is the wall between the left and right ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart. A hole in the ventricular septum is called a VSD. This hole lets blood with oxygen mix with used blood returning to the lungs. Over time, irregular heartbeats and other heart problems can happen.

• In a normal heart, the aorta comes from the left side of the heart, and the pulmonary artery comes from the right side. In transposition of the great vessels, these arteries come from the opposite sides of the heart. The child may also have other birth defects.

• The most common repair is called an arterial switch. The aorta and pulmonary artery are divided. The pulmonary artery is connected to the right ventricle, where it belongs. Then, the aorta and coronary arteries are connected to the left ventricle, where they belong.

• Truncus arteriosus is a rare condition that occurs when the aorta, coronary arteries, and pulmonary artery all come out of one common trunk. The disorder may be very simple, or very complex. In all cases, it requires open-heart surgery to repair the defect.

• Repair is usually done in the first few days or weeks of the infant’s life. The pulmonary arteries are separated from the aortic trunk, and any defects are patched. Usually, children also have a ventricular septal defect, and that is also closed. A connection is then placed between the right ventricle and the pulmonary arteries.

• Soon after birth, the baby may be given a medicine called prostaglandin E. This medicine will help keep the patent ductus arteriosus open so that blood can continue to flow to the lungs. However, this will only work for a while. The child will eventually need surgery.

• The child may need a series of shunts and surgeries to correct this defect. The goal of this surgery is to allow blood from the body to flow into the lungs. The surgeon may have to repair the tricuspid valve, replace the valve, or put in a shunt so that blood can get to the lungs.

• This is a very severe heart defect that is caused by a very poorly developed left heart. If it is not treated, it causes death in most babies who are born with it. Unlike babies with other heart defects, those with hypoplastic left heart do not have any other defects. Operations to treat this defect are done at specialized medical centers. Usually, surgery corrects this defect.

• A series of three heart operations is most often needed. The first operation is done in the first week of the baby’s life. This is a complicated surgery where one blood vessel is created from the pulmonary artery and the aorta. This new vessel carries blood to the lungs and the rest of the body.

Bhatt AB, Foster E, Kuehl K, et al; American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology. Congenital heart disease in the older adult: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015;131 (21):1884-1931. PMID: 25896865 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25896865.

LeRoy S, Elixson EM, O’Brien P, et al; American Heart Association Pediatric Nursing Subcommittee of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing; Council on Cardiovascular Diseases of the Young. Recommendations for preparing children and adolescents for invasive cardiac procedures: a statement from the American Heart Association Pediatric Nursing Subcommittee of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing in collaboration with the Council on Cardiovascular Diseases of the Young. Circulation. 2003;108(20):2250-2564. PMID: 14623793 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14623793.

Webb GD, Smallhorn JF, Therrien J, Redington AN. Congenital heart disease. In: Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 62.

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