Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
Tattoos and heart patient
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Tattoos and heart patient

When I turn 18 I wanted a tattoo in memory of my dad. He just died. I'm 14 right now, I have a heart condition where my valve was leaking when i was born so I got it repaired with a donor valve and I have to get check ups once in a while.
My doctor said NO to piercings even though I have a cartilage .
So I never enquiered about a tattoo. I want it by my bikini line , not near my heart.

so here's my question

1.Is it possible for me to take the medication I have to take before I go to the dentist for when I get a tattoo ? like to prevent infection ?

2.What if I go to a repidable place where there was a doctor approval of the parlor then is my risk of infection lower?

3.Which is worst - belly piercing or tattoos.

Thank you.

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Dear Decemberwinter,
The location of a tattoo has nothing to do with the risk to your heart.  The skin has bacteria on it that can get into your bloodstream.  It is the risk of an infection that can get through the bloodstream, cause an infection of the heart called endocarditis, damage your already abnormal valve, and potentially be lethal.  Overall, with a prosthetic aortic valve, there is a somewhat higher risk of infection as compared to having a normal valve.  That risk is higher with procedures or instrumentation of dirty areas, such as the mouth or upper airway.  I do not know which of the two procedures you mention is worse from an infection risk standpoint, although I might surmise that a navel piercing might have a slightly higher risk, due to the fact that it is likely more difficult to disinfect.  As far as the bargaining you are trying to do with me with your first and second questions, I would recommend that you do that with your cardiologist, who, in conjunction with your mother, can discuss the risks and preventive approach to this.  I do agree that certain piercings, such as nose, mouth, and groin, are definitely risky for endocarditis.  In the end, your father would probably not want you to do anything that would end up putting you at risk.
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