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Do I need surgery for the hole in my heart?

Q: I am an 18 years old male suffering from heart problem after my birth due to pneumonia. I have a hole in my heart but it is small. I took homeopathy treatment for three years then stopped taking it. Two years back, I underwent an echo test after which the doctor told me that hole in my heart is 3 mm in circumference and will get closed on its own. My parents don't want me to undergo surgery. I walk daily for miles and run also but not much. Do I need to undergo surgery?

A:Right at the outset let me clarify that it is very difficult to give answers to specific queries, unless one has direct access to a patient, as also to all the relevant investigations like echocardiography etc. However, in generic terms, all I can say is that a hole in the heart is very unlikely to close at the age of 18 years. Most holes that are destined to close do so within the first one year of life and beyond five years of age, the chances of closure of the holes of heart are virtually zero. Therefore, it is advisable to get the hole closed for multiple reasons. Holes in the heart may lead to enlargement of the heart and subsequent development of the irregular rhythms of the heart. Also the pressures of the lungs may rise because of the increased flow through the right heart and sometimes infection within the heart may arise. Therefore, unless you are specifically advised by your treating doctor, our advice will be to get the hole closed by either percutaneous means or open heart surgery.


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