Common diseases & risk factors

How Avi Medical helps you with a congenital heart defect

A congenital heart defect is scary at first. But don't panic: We at Avi Medical will support you at all times. 

Small congenital heart defects, such as a leak between the two atria of the heart, are common and affect up to 35 percent of the population. These conditions, which develop during the embryonic period, are usually asymptomatic and thus do not require treatment. Serious heart defects are rarer - but also require acute therapy. Fortunately, these defects are usually diagnosed directly after birth and immediately corrected surgically or with medication. In the event that a congenital heart defect has remained undiscovered and thus untreated until now: our experienced doctors at Avi Medical will accompany you through the therapy at all our locations.

What are congenital heart defects?

The clinical picture of congenital heart defects includes a large number of different defects that unborn children develop during pregnancy. Among the most important are: 

  • Persistent foramen ovale (an opening between the left and right atria of the heart that closes in healthy people immediately after birth).
  • Ventricular septal defect (an opening in the wall between the heart chambers)
  • Persistent ductus arteriosus botalli (a connection between the pulmonary arteries and the aorta, which should be obliterated after birth)
  • Aortic coarctation (a narrowing at the junction of the left heart and the aorta)
  • Narrowing of the heart valves

At what point are they congenital heart defects?

A congenital heart defect is diagnosed at the moment when it can be proven that a heart abnormality was already present at birth.

What are the triggers of congenital heart defects?

The exact mechanism of development of congenital heart defects has not yet been conclusively clarified. However, the possible triggers include: 

  • Genetic diseases (chromosomal disorders such as trisomy 21 or Down's syndrome)
  • Alcohol and nicotine abuse during pregnancy
  • very old age of the parents

What are possible symptoms of congenital heart defects?

Small congenital heart defects are usually asymptomatic. Symptoms of severe heart defects, on the other hand, include:

  • Disturbances of the normal, age-appropriate development of the infant
  • Signs of heart failure (e.g. breathing problems or enlarged liver).
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • increased heart rate 
  • a weakly palpable pulse
  • quick fatigue
  • Signs of reduced blood flow, especially in the periphery (fingers and toes but also oral mucosa and tongue, which often turn blue or grey).

The treatment of congenital heart defects at Avi Medical

The majority of congenital heart defects are detected directly at birth by sonography or ECG if symptoms are present. In rare cases, the diagnosis is not made until adolescence. At Avi Medical, we can help you with the following diagnostic tools:

  • Taking an anamnesis (this includes previous illnesses as well as physical complaints in states of stress or rest)
  • Auscultation (listening to the heart with the stethoscope)
  • for abnormal heart murmurs: Ultrasound of the heart 
  • ECG
  • X-ray thorax
  • Determination of the peripheral oxygen saturation