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 1/19/2016
Updated by: Larry A. Weinrauch MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Outcomes Research, Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.