For patients and loved ones at the Cardiac Center, genetic counseling can answer questions about the likelihood of developing a disease or passing it on to children. Typically, a counseling session consists of a discussion of the patient's family tree, a physical examination and an assessment of the patient's medical history. Once the results are available, the medical geneticist or counselor can discuss the patient's prognosis and treatment options.
For those concerned about potential genetic complications, we provide information about the risk for certain birth defects and genetic disorders. Advanced techniques are used to determine risk for a variety of genetic disorders that might develop during pregnancy, with appropriate treatment or referral available.
What Causes Congenital Heart Problems?
Congenital heart problems can occur at random and without a readily identifiable cause. Many are unique gene defects, and often they are part of a genetic syndrome. One factor that helps determine the probability of their occurrence and possible recurrence in subsequent siblings is the patient's unique DNA.
While some congenital heart problems occur in isolation, others are tied to genetic disorders that affect multiple organ systems, such as DiGeorge Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Marfan Syndrome or Williams Syndrome. For that reason, many patients with congenital heart problems find it helpful to join support groups specific to those diseases, as well as the hospital's own Mended Hearts support group for patients, family members and caregivers dealing with heart disease.
To schedule an appointment or learn more about the Cardiac Center at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, please call 954-265-3437.