Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Parents of children with congenital heart defects often worry about the risks of rough play and vigorous activity even after successful treatment.

Children with small defects or a repaired hole in the heart will usually have few or no restrictions on activity or exercise. Children whose hearts have reduced pumping ability will need to follow some limits. A child with irreversible pulmonary hypertension (Eisenmenger's syndrome) has the greatest number of restrictions.

Your doctor can advise you about which activities are safe for your child. If some activities pose special dangers, encourage your child in other pursuits instead of focusing on what he or she can't do. Although every circumstance is different, remember that many children with ventricular septal defects grow up to lead healthy, productive lives.

It may also be helpful to join a support group for families of children born with heart defects. Support groups can offer practical advice and useful resources to help parents, families and caregivers find answers, connect with other families, and share their hopes and concerns with others facing similar challenges.

Oct. 26, 2011