When you contact your baby's doctor about your concerns, he or she may ask you to schedule an appointment or immediately refer you to a heart specialist for children (pediatric cardiologist). This will depend on the severity of the signs and symptoms you have described.
What you can do
If possible, compile a thorough medical history from both sides of your baby's family. Some heart problems are inherited, so it's helpful if you can let your doctor know if anyone in your child's family has ever had early heart problems.
It's also helpful to prepare a list of questions ahead of time so that you can make the most of your time together with your baby's doctor. Here's a sampling of questions you might want to ask:
- What kinds of tests will my child undergo?
- What are the options for treatment? What are the possible complications of treatment?
- What is the long-term outlook for my child?
- What impact would a heart defect or the subsequent treatment have on another condition my baby has?
- If I have another baby in the future, is there any way to prevent this from happening again?
- 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 baby's doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions that may come up during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your child's doctor will likely ask you the following questions:
Nov. 02, 2012
- Does your baby ever appear blue?
- How long are feeding times, or how much does your baby drink?
- How often and how long is your baby sleeping?
- How does your baby respond to touch?
- Have you noticed changes in any of these behaviors?
- Maldonado JA, et al. Congenital thoracic vascular anomalies. Radiologic Clinics of North America. 2010;48:85.
- Persistent truncus arteriosus. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/congenital_cardiovascular_anomalies/persistent_truncus_arteriosus.html#v1096866. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Doherty GM, ed. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=5215009. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- What are congenital heart defects? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/chd/printall-index.html. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Truncus arteriosus. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Truncus-Arteriosus_UCM_307040_Article.jsp. Accessed Sept. 5. 2012.
- Congenital heart defects. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/birthdefects_congenitalheart.html. Accessed Sept. 9, 2012.
- Infective endocarditis. The American Heart Associaton. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/TheImpactofCongenitalHeartDefects/Infective-Endocarditis_UCM_307108_Article.jsp. Accessed Sept. 9, 2012.