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Growth and Development

Growth considerations for your child:

Children with congenital (present at birth) heart disease often grow and develop more slowly than other children. For example:

Nutritional considerations for your child:

Nutritional issues impact growth and development in children with congenital heart disease.

Physicians, nurses, and nutritionists can help develop a plan to ensure that your child gets adequate nutrition to meet his/her body's needs. Suggestions may include the following:

Developmental considerations:

Children with congenital heart disease may fall behind in their development for several reasons, including:

Parents of children with congenital heart disease can play an active role in promoting the development of their child, at home or in the hospital. Physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and other healthcare team members will provide appropriate guidelines that are tailored for each individual child. Some ways that parents can encourage the development of their children may include the following:

Adolescence into adulthood:

Advances in the treatment of children with congenital heart disease have grown tremendously since the first successful shunt operation in 1945 and the first open heart surgery to close an atrial septal defect (ASD) in 1952. Approximately 85 percent of babies born with congenital heart disease will now survive into adulthood. This “new generation” of adults with congenital heart disease is growing rapidly.

These adults, however, are seldom “cured,” and the most complex defects often require multiple medications and other therapies. Complications may develop and repeat interventional and/or surgical procedures may be required.

Issues related to lifestyle and well-being are important for these individuals. Such issues include, but are not limited to, the following:

Regular follow-up care at a center offering pediatric or adult congenital cardiac care should continue throughout the individual’s lifespan.

Consult your child's physician regarding the specific outlook for your child.

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