Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to first mention your concerns to your child's doctor or, in the case of a partial defect that's gone unnoticed into adulthood, your primary care physician. However, you or your child may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the heart (cardiologist).

Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to arrive well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you or your child experiences, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you or your child takes. Write down the dose usually taken, as well.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor, and ensure that you cover all of the points that are important to you. For atrioventricular canal defect, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my or my baby's symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for these symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests are needed? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • What treatments are available for atrioventricular canal defect, and which do you recommend?
  • What are the risks of surgery?
  • Are there any alternatives to surgery?
  • My child or I have other health conditions. How can we best manage these conditions together?
  • Are there any activity restrictions after the surgery?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment anytime you don't understand something.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor or your child's doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you or your child first notice symptoms?
  • Have the symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • Does anything seem to improve these symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen the symptoms?
  • Is there a family history of congenital heart disease?
Sept. 12, 2012