The type and timing of surgical repair depends on the child's condition and the type and severity of heart defects.
In general, symptoms that indicate that surgery is needed are:
- difficulty breathing because the lungs are wet, congested, or fluid-filled (congestive heart failure)
- problems with heart rate or rhythm (arrhythmias)
- excessive work load on heart that interferes with breathing, feeding, or sleeping
Review Date 12/8/2017
Updated by: Steven Kang, MD, Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Stanford Healthcare, Oakland, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.