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  • Cardiology Content

Pediatric Heart Conditions and Treatments

The pediatric cardiologists at Brenner Children's are experts in heart care for infants and children. We see patients with all types of congenital and acquired heart defects every day and help them get better through diagnosis, treatment, disease management and surgery.

Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects are heart defects found in the structure of the heart, which occur while the heart is forming in a baby. The most common form of birth defect, heart defects are found in 1 out of every 100 newborns in the United States.

Acquired Heart Defects

Acquired heart defects are heart problems that occur in children after they are born; these commonly occur after a child faces an illness.

Learn more about the Heart Care Clinical Services offered by the Cardiologists at Brenner Children’s Hospital.

Conditions & Treatments

Conditions and TreatmentLearn more about the many types of pediatric heart conditions and their treatments that Brenner Heart Program’s team of exceptionally trained clinicians performs using state-of-the-art technology:

Aortic coarctation 

A narrowing of the aorta. 

Treatments include inserting a stent into the narrowed vessel to keep it open or through surgical removal of the narrowed parts of the aorta.

Aortic valve stenosis 

A deformed or misshapen heart valve that is too narrow to allow blood to flow.

Nonsurgical and surgical valve replacement is often performed. Your doctor may perform balloon valvuloplasty, where a balloon is used to open the valve.


An irregular heart rhythm

Treatments may include medications, pacemaker (a device that is inserted in the body to regulate heart rhythm) implantation, defibrillator (a device that is inserted into the body to delivers electrical energy to the heart) implantation, catheter ablation (nonsurgical removal of the area causing the arrhythmia) or the surgical removal of the tissue causing the arrhythmia.

Atrial septal defect or ASD a hole in the wall of the upper chambers of the heart

Treatment of ASD includes observation and monitoring, using medications to reduce symptoms and, if needed, closing the hole through surgical or nonsurgical methods in the  Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.


An enlarged or thickened and stiffened heart that doesn’t pump blood well

Your doctor may treat cardiomyopathy with medications and surgery to remove the areas of the heart that are causing the condition. Additionally, a pacemaker or defibrillator may be implanted to regulate your child’s heart rhythm.


An infection of the heart

Medications are most often used to treat endocarditis; however, in cases when medications are not effective enough, surgery may be an option.

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome 

A congenital heart condition where parts of the left side of the heart do not fully develop

Medications are used to stabilize the heart and blood flow. A series of surgeries to reconstruct the heart or heart transplantation may be part of the long-term treatment plan.

Kawasaki disease inflammation of blood vessels in the body, including those around the heart

Medications are most commonly used to treat this disease; in some cases, surgery may be a part of the treatment plan.

Marfan syndrome a weakening of the connecting tissue in the heart

Medications are typically used to treat Marfan syndrome; in some cases, surgery is needed to replace a heart valve or repair the aorta.

Patent ductus arteriosus or PDA  

A condition in which a blood vessel that should close shortly after birth does not close on its own, which can cause too much blood to flow to an infant’s lungs

Medications are used to reduce blood clots. Nonsurgical and surgical procedures are performed to close the blood vessel.

Patent foramen ovale or PFO 

A condition caused when an opening between the left and right atria does not close before or shortly after birth

Medications are used to reduce blood clots. Nonsurgical and surgical procedures are performed to close the opening.

Pulmonary artery stenosis 

A narrowing of the pulmonary artery, which is the heart vessel that takes blood from the heart’s right ventricle to the lungs

Treatments may involve an angioplasty, a nonsurgical procedure that enlarges the artery with a balloon or by inserting a stent. Surgery is performed when nonsurgical procedures do not adequately enlarge the artery.

Pulmonary atresia 

A congenital heart defect in which the pulmonary valve, the heart valve on the right side of the heart, does not grow

Surgery that may include heart valve replacement is typically performed to correct the tissue that has grown over the opening of the pulmonary valve.

Pulmonary valve stenosis 

A narrowing of the pulmonary valve, which is the valve that controls the flow of blood from the heart’s right ventricle to the lungs

Treatments for pulmonary valve stenosis include observation and monitoring if the condition is mild. In more complex cases, balloon valvuloplasty, a nonsurgical procedure where a balloon is inserted and inflated into the vessel, may be performed to enlarge the artery.

Rheumatic heart disease 

A damaging of the heart from complications of rheumatic fever, which begins with strep throat

The long-term use of medications helps prevent infection. In cases where the heart valve has been damaged, surgery may need to be performed.

Tetralogy of Fallot 

A blend of 4 heart defects that results in oxygen-poor blood flowing into the body

Medications are used to help the heart better oxygenate blood. Surgery may be performed to temporarily relieve symptoms. In some cases, a complete heart repair may be done to allow the blood to correctly flow through the body.

Transposition of great arteries

A condition in which the two major arteries (the upper part of the heart) leaving the heart are connected to the wrong ventricles (the lower part of the heart), resulting in a low amount of oxygen in the blood

Medications are used to keep the heart working. Surgery to correctly reconnect the arteries is performed so that blood can properly flow through the body. Follow-up care is also part of the long-term treatment program.

Truncus arteriosus 

A condition in which only one artery is connected to the heart

Medications are used to help the heart function correctly. Surgery is required to reconstruct and correctly reconnect the arteries.

Ventricular septal defect or VSD

A hole in the wall of the lower chambers of the heart

Treatment of VSD includes observation and monitoring, using medications to reduce symptoms and closing the hole through surgery or nonsurgical closure methods in the  Catheterization Laboratory.