Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your child's doctor may suspect a congenital heart defect if your child has bluish skin from birth. You'll then be referred to a pediatric heart specialist (cardiologist) for diagnosis and treatment. Transposition of the great arteries is usually diagnosed in the hospital shortly after birth leading to urgent consultation with pediatric cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. Emergency procedures are often needed to improve your baby's oxygen level.

You won't likely have time to prepare for your first meeting with your baby's doctor because it will happen soon after birth, but for future visits the following information may be helpful.

What you can do

  • Get a complete family history for both sides of your baby's family. Find out if anyone in your child's family was ever born with a heart defect.
  • Ask a family member or friend to be with you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you, and because you're so concerned about your baby, you may miss something the doctor says or you may forget some details.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

For transposition of the great arteries, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What caused this to happen to my baby?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • What happens if my baby doesn't have the surgery?
  • After surgery, will my baby have any lingering problems?
  • Will my child have any activity restrictions?
  • 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 is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • Is there a family history of heart disease at birth?
  • Did you experience any significant illnesses or take medications while pregnant?
  • Have you noticed that your baby has bluish skin, difficulty feeding or difficulty breathing?
Aug. 10, 2012