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Congenital Heart Conditions Resource Centre

How to find what you are looking for

The content in this section has been organized to follow the natural course of a heart condition, from symptom recognition, to diagnosis, to treatment, to long-term outcomes. This material has been developed in close collaboration with the health care professionals of the Division of Cardiology, as well as other expert professionals from The Hospital for Sick Children and elsewhere. Parents of children with heart conditions have also made a valuable contribution to the material in this section.

About Heart Conditions

The best way to understand what a heart condition means for your child's health is to understand how the heart works. This section also describes signs and symptoms that can be caused by a heart condition, an overview of the tests a doctor may use to help with diagnosis, and a description of the health care professionals who will help care for your child.

Understanding Diagnosis

This section of the site will give you key information about your child's condition to help prepare you to help your child through treatment and over the long term.


This section explains the various types of treatments available for different heart conditions. The treatment team will discuss all the options with you in detail so you can make a decision about your child's treatment.

At Home

At this stage, your child will have received some sort of treatment. Now the focus moves to recovery. Depending on your child's condition, this could be a speedy process or it may take some time. This section focuses on questions you may have once your child is at home.

Looking Ahead

At this stage, your child is likely returning to a more normal life. This section, which is organized according to child, youth, and adult issues, aims to answer some of the questions you may have about what life will be like for your child, in the immediate future and for the longer term.

How does the heart work?  

With each beat, the heart pumps blood through the arteries and veins. This brings oxygen and nutrients to the body

What are congenital defects?

Congenital heart defects, or lesions, are parts of the heart that have not formed properly

Genetics and heart conditions

Sometimes heart conditions are inherited and sometimes they develop spontaneously. Understanding genetics can help you understand each of these processes.

Please remember that this information should only be used as a guide. Every child's situation is unique. If you have specific questions about your own child's care, please speak to your child's doctor.