A hole in the heart, a congenital defect, sometimes closes on its own without intervention, according to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. Doctors use surgery and catheter procedures to repair holes in the heart that do not resolve on their own. Extra nutrition is sometimes necessary as well.
Treatment of a hole in the heart depends on the size of the hole, its location and type, as well as age, size and health, states the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. Doctors often monitor small holes. Surgical procedures that involve placement of a patch close larger holes or smaller holes that do not resolve on their own. Alternatively, doctors plug the hole using a procedure that employs a catheter inserted in the groin and threaded through a vein to the heart.
Some babies with holes in their hearts do not grow and develop properly, notes the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. They require special formulas or breast milk supplements, and some must obtain nutrition through tubes. This is a temporary solution because these babies usually require surgical intervention to repair their hearts.
Most children born with holes in their hearts lead normal lives once they receive treatment, states the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. They have no restrictions on their activities, and do not lag in growth or development. They require routine follow-up care throughout their lives.