Congenital Heart Disease

INTEGRIS Health cardiologists and specialists have extensive experience in caring for congenital heart disease, with cutting-edge technologies and procedures.

Caring for the tiniest hearts.

Not Your Fault

Congenital heart disease is caused by defects in the growth of your baby’s heart, which began growing at conception and was completely formed at eight weeks. For about nine of every 1,000 infants, the heart develops with some problems, but it’s important for parents to understand they did nothing wrong. Sometimes the heart simply doesn’t grow correctly.

There are many kinds of congenital heart defects, but most involve a structural problem such as a hole or leaky valve, and range from simple to complex. Your baby may grow out of some of the simpler heart problems, while others need to be watched by your baby’s doctor and managed with medicines. Others will require surgery, sometimes as soon as in the first few hours after birth.

Working Together

INTEGRIS Health physicians, cardiologists and specialists have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating congenital heart disease, with cutting edge technologies and procedures brought to you by INTEGRIS Heart Hospital. We’ll do everything we can for your baby’s tiny heart so you can enjoy a long, happy, active life together.

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Understanding Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart defects are normally discovered while you’re pregnant, so you most likely will not experience symptoms. However, if the defect goes undiagnosed, it may present with these symptoms in infants and children:

  • A bluish tint to the skin, fingernails, and lips
  • An increase in fast breathing and poor feeding
  • Poor weight gain
  • Multiple lung infections
  • Sluggishness or inability to exercise

Your obstetrician may be able to detect congenital heart disease in your baby during pregnancy. If it is not detected before birth, INTEGRIS Heart Hospital will use many types of diagnostic cardiac exams to determine if your child might have a congenital heart defect. Tests performed on your child might include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): One of the simplest and fastest procedures used to evaluate the heart. Electrodes (small, plastic patches) are placed at certain locations on your chest, arms and legs. Connected to the ECG machine by lead wires, the electrodes measure the electrical activity of your heart. Results are printed for the physician's information and further interpretation.
  • Chest X-ray: This diagnostic test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones and organs onto film.
  • Echocardiogram (Echo): This procedure uses sound waves to obtain real-time images of your child’s heart. The sound waves are directed at his or her chest using a wand-like tool called a transducer that provides video images of the heart.
  • Stress test: This exam monitors ECG signals and blood pressure readings before, during and after exercise. It can be performed on a treadmill, on a bicycle or by drug injection to reach certain workloads by the heart and blood pressure. Also known as a stress test or exercise ECG, this exam puts stress upon the cardiac muscle to see if any hidden problems arise as a result of the stress placed on the heart.
  • Cardiac MRI: This completely painless test provides physicians with extremely detailed, 3-D still and moving pictures of your heart’s structure and functions. Viewing your heart in motion allows doctors to see the chambers clearly, valves and blood vessels and diagnose any potential medical conditions.
  • Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) scan: This test involves taking a series of X-rays from many different angles. Using advanced computer technology we can produce clear and extremely detailed images of your heart.
  • Cardiac catheterization: This procedure is used to diagnose – and sometimes treat – heart conditions. It involves inserting a long thin tube called a catheter into an artery or vein in your groin, neck or arm and threading it through the blood vessels to your heart. Using the catheter, the doctor can perform various types of diagnostic tests, including the location of blockages or to take a biopsy.

Your baby will be followed by a specialist called a pediatric cardiologist, who diagnoses heart defects and manages your child’s health before and after surgical repair of the heart problem. Treatment for congenital heart disease depends on the condition and situation of each patient. Your multidisciplinary team of physicians and surgeons will develop the treatment plan best fits your unique case. Options may include:


  • Digoxin
  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors


  • Valvotomy
  • Valvectomy
  • Patch enlargement
  • Pulmonary valve replacement
  • Balloon dilation or valvuloplasty
  • Interventional cardiac catheterization
  • Blalock-Taussig shunt
  • Glenn shunt
  • Fontan procedure
  • Atrial Septal Defect closure
  • Transcatheter coil closure of the PDA
  • Surgical closure of the PDA
  • Keyhole surgery

Part of heart and vascular care includes managing heart disease and preventing further deterioration to help you live the fullest life possible. To accomplish that, we’ll provide you with education, continued care options and programs even after you are discharged including:

  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Heart education
  • Anticoagulation Management Clinic
  • Heart Care Program
  • Integrative medicine
  • Palliative care

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