Caring for the tiniest of hearts

Baby heart_191610

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) More than one million Americans are living with some form of congenital heart defect, a condition with which they are born. One of the most advanced congenital heart programs in the country is right in West Michigan at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

The Congenital Heart Center at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is the only such program in West Michigan. It specializes in diagnosing and treating all congenital heart conditions regardless of age, even prenatal heart defects. Through surgery and interventions as well as follow-up care, the team helps children, adolescents, and adults with complex conditions treated by only the most advanced congenital heart programs in the country.

Any heart defect that is present from birth is called “congenital.” It may or may not be known that the condition exists when the baby is born. According to the American Heart Association, about nine of every 1,000 babies born in the United States have a congenital heart defect, making it the most common birth defect.

Congenital heart problems range from simple to complex. A baby may “grow out” of some of the simpler heart problems, which can close up on their own with growth. Some heart problems can be watched by the baby’s doctor and managed with medicines, while others will require intervention or surgery, sometimes as soon as in the first few hours after birth. Other individuals will have a combination of defects and require several interventions or operations throughout their lives.

More than half of children born with congenital heart defects require surgery at some point. Conditions that may require surgery include complex congenital heart defects, acquired heart defects, holes between chambers of the heart, abnormalities of heart valves and major blood vessels, or chest trauma.

Congenital Heart Center

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

100 Michigan Street NE, Floor 10

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 267-9150

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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