If you have a congenital heart defect, make an appointment with your doctor for follow-up care, even if you haven't developed complications. You'll likely be referred to a doctor trained in diagnosing and treating heart conditions (cardiologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet or fast. Make a list of:
- Your symptoms, if any, including any that may seem unrelated to congenital heart disease, and when they began
- Key personal information, including a family history of heart defects and treatment you received as a child
- All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take and their doses
- Questions to ask your doctor
Take a family member or friend with you, if possible, to help you remember the information you get. For congenital heart disease, questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- What treatments are available? Which do you recommend for me?
- Are there diet or activity restrictions I need to follow?
- How often should I be screened for complications from my heart defect?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:
- Do your symptoms come and go, or do you have them all the time?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, worsens your symptoms?
- What's your lifestyle like, including your diet, tobacco use, physical activity and alcohol use?
April 06, 2017
- About congenital heart defects. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/About-Congenital-Heart-Defects_UCM_001217_Article.jsp#.WD8pOpK8x8g. Accessed Nov. 30, 2016.
- Congenital heart defects. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/chd/signs. Accessed Nov. 30, 2016.
- Pandya B, et al. Congenital heart disease in adults. British Medical Journal. 2016;354:i3905.
- Guidelines for treating adults with congenital heart disease. American College of Cardiology. https://www.cardiosmart.org/Heart-Conditions/Guidelines/ACHD. Accessed Nov. 30, 2016.
- Living with a congenital heart defect. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/living.html. Accessed Nov. 30, 2016.
- Overview of congenital cardiovascular anomalies. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/congenital_cardiovascular_anomalies/overview_of_congenital_cardiovascular_anomalies.html. Accessed Dec. 1, 2016.
- Riggins E. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 4, 2016.
Congenital heart disease in adults