What is complex congenital heart disease?

Congenital heart disease affects the heart's structures, including the heart's blood vessels. Heart defects are often noticed after birth, during childhood or into adulthood. A defect can go unnoticed because symptoms may not be apparent. But, of course, when symptoms occur, difficulty breathing and a low tolerance for exercise are signs of heart disease.

Types of congenital heart disease include:

  • Tetralogy of Fallot occurs when four defects affecting the heart are present at birth. As a result, the heart’s structure is also affected, causing poorly oxygenated blood to move from the heart to other regions of the body. Typically, children may develop bluish skin because of poor blood supply throughout the body. Tetralogy of Fallot is identified in adulthood and can be managed through regular doctor’s check-ups. However, babies may undergo corrective surgery to repair the defect.
  • An atrial septal defect is a gap between the atria (the heart's upper chambers). Small defects, however, may close on their own without surgical intervention. The presence of a hole increases the flow of blood to the lungs, which can have a devastating impact on the heart and lungs. A device closure or surgery is the only way of closing the hole.
  • Univentricular heart is an abnormal univentricular connection that occurs when the atria links with a single ventricular chamber due to a missing valve. These defects are complex and often requires a heart team to plan surgery for best cardiovascular function.
  • Ebstein's anomaly is a rare congenital abnormality that occurs when the tricuspid valve is situated incorrectly, and the flaps of the valve are not formed properly. Therefore, the valve will not function optimally. As a result, blood flows back through the valve.
  • Transposition of the great arteries occurs at birth resulting in the switch of two primary arteries responsible for emptying blood from the heart. During infancy, an arterial switch is done to correct the position of the arteries.

How do you treat congenital heart disease?

Medication, invasive techniques and surgery are treatment modalities for congenital heart disease depending on the severity of the condition.


Can you live long with the transposition of the great arteries?

Transposition of the great arteries is a life-threatening condition that needs to be corrected to increase your lifespan. Patients cannot live long with this condition. Without surgery, the prognosis remains poor.

Is Ebstein's anomaly curable?

Depending on the degree of abnormality of the tricuspid valve, the valve may be repaired surgically.

What can you expect after Tetralogy of Fallot repair?

Tetrology of fallot repair is often done during childhood. This requires long term follow up into adulthood as a common complication is for the pulmonary valve (which connects your right heart to the lungs) to leak.

parallax background

Rapidly evolving and rewarding speciality