My son had a heart problem when he was born. Will he develop normally?

Can a heart problem in the neonatal phase affect a child's development?

oneyearoldchildQ: Hi, my name is Priya. My son was born with a heart problem and had surgery for truncus repair when he was 35 days old. He was kept in NICU for 14 days thereafter since he had a heart failure. He was then admitted to the NICU for 10 days and then again for 25 days after the heart surgery. According to the paediocardiac surgeon, he was showing good improvement in heart function. Now he is 1-year-old and is not able to sit on his own and doesn't say a word. I have been taking him for physiotherapy for the past 2 months and he has shown good results. Since we started physiotherapy he is able to hold his own head up, has learned to put his weight on his hands and legs and when I make him sit, he can support himself with his hand for around minute. He takes toys on his own if he gets a chance without any delay, and is capable of pulling my hair. He makes sounds like 'aeh, oeh' when I talk to him. He recognizes people, and likes to be with men more than women. He is more expressive with his father than me even though I am with him all the time. I want to know if my son will be like a normal child as he grows up or will he have to live with disabilities all his life?

Answered by Dr Leena Deshpande, a consultant in Developmental Pediatrics

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A: Hi Priya, there does seem to be some delay in your son's development. However, it is encouraging to know that he is responding to stimulation and therapy. It is essential you discuss this with your paediatrician, who may be able to refer your child for a neurodevelopment assessment. This will help the doctors know the degree of delay, which in turn may help in predicting his future developmental stages.

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