Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
hole in heart and echo checkups.
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Questions in this forum are answered by pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This forum is for questions and support about pediatric heart problems, symptoms and topics such as heart murmurs, palpitations, fainting, chest pain, congenital heart defects (including management and intervention), fetal cardiology, adult congenital cardiology, arrhythmias and pre-participation athletic screening.

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hole in heart and echo checkups.

My baby did echo when he was 2 days, and found there is a hole in his heart, and the doctor told me its pretty big and unlikely to close by itself. Then she asked me to bring baby again three weeks later for another echo. During these 3 weeks, the baby doing very good, gained 2-3 pounds and ate pretty well. But when he did second echo, the doctor told me it is worse than she thought and asked me to take the baby for another echo one month later. Now another 2 weeks passed since my babys second echo, he is acting very normal, he gains more weight and eats pretty quick. So my question is: since he seems pretty healthy, does he need this many echo checkups? Every time my insurance only covers 80%, so i have to pay $700 out of pocket, its a financial burden now, and i am wondering too many echos will harm the baby or not.
My question is: if my baby seems normal, does he need to do echo every month like the doctor is doing now? Is echo completely harmless to the newborn? Thanks.
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Dear Spoonsha,

Unfortunately, without evaluating your son or any further information, I cannot say whether the echocardiograms are warranted or not.  I don't know what kind of defect he has beyond having a hole.  Certainly pediatric cardiologists should be able to perform a history and physical examination and determine if the heart defect is clinically significant enough to cause symptoms of congestive heart failure, which is typically the biggest concern at this age.  If you are not satisfied with how your doctor is managing the care of your son, you can either ask about the necessity of it (based on the cost) or you can get a second opinion.  Of note, ultrasound is completely harmless to him, so that part of it should not be a worry.
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