As your child grows, you may have some concerns about how best to care for your child, including:
- Preventing infection. A child with severe heart defects may need to take preventive antibiotics before certain dental and surgical procedures. Your doctor can help you find out if this is necessary. Maintaining good oral hygiene and getting regular dental checkups are excellent ways to help prevent infection.
- Exercising and play. Parents of children with congenital heart defects often worry about the risks of rough play and vigorous activity even after successful treatment. Although some children may need to limit the amount or type of exercise, many can lead normal or near-normal lives. Decisions about exercise need to be made on a case-by-case basis, so ask your child's doctor which activities are safe for your child.
If you're an adult with congenital heart disease, you may have concerns, such as:
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- Employment. Having a congenital heart defect generally won't limit a person's career options. If an adult has serious heart rhythm problems or the potential for life-threatening complications, careers that can put others at risk may be discouraged, such as flying a plane or driving a bus.
- Pregnancy. Most women with congenital heart disease can tolerate pregnancy without any problems. However, having a severe defect or complications such as chronic pulmonary regurgitation or arrhythmias can increase your risk of complications during pregnancy.
Experts recommend that anyone with congenital heart disease who is considering starting a family carefully discuss it beforehand with his or her doctor. In some cases, preconception consultations with doctors who specialize in cardiology, genetics and high-risk obstetric care are needed. Some heart medications aren't safe during pregnancy and may need to be stopped or adjusted before you become pregnant.
- Tetralogy of Fallot. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/tof. Accessed Nov. 2, 2011.
- Doyle T, et al. Overview of the management of tetralogy of Fallot. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Nov. 2, 2011.
- Bailliard F, et al. Tetralogy of Fallot. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. 2009;4:2.
- Tetralogy of Fallot. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/TetralogyOfFallot.html. Accessed Nov. 2, 2011.
- Apitz C, et al. Tetralogy of Fallot. The Lancet. 2009;374:1462.
- Warnes CA, et al. ACC/AHA 2008 guidelines for the management of adults with congenital heart disease. 2008;118:714.
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