A complete mirror image dextrocardia with no heart defects requires no treatment. It is important, however, to let the child's health care provider know the heart is on the right side of the chest. This information can be important in some exams and tests.
Treatment for conditions that include dextrocardia depends on whether the infant has other heart or physical problems in addition to dextrocardia.
If heart defects are present with dextrocardia, the baby will most likely need surgery. Critically ill babies may need treatment with medication before surgery. These medications help the baby grow larger so surgery is less difficult to perform.
The baby might also need surgery to correct problems in the organs of the abdomen.
Children with Kartagener syndrome will need repeated treatment with antibiotics for sinus infections.
Children with a missing or abnormal spleen need long-term antibiotics.
All children with heart defects should get antibiotics before surgeries or dental treatments.
Babies with simple dextrocardia have a normal life expectancy and should have no problems related to the location of the heart.
When dextrocardia appears with other defects in the heart and elsewhere in the body, how well the baby does depends on the severity of the problems.
The death rate in babies and children without a spleen may be high due to infections. This is at least partially preventable with daily antibiotics.
Complications depend on whether dextrocardia is part of a larger syndrome, and whether other problems exist in the body. Complications include:
Call your health care provider if your baby:
Seek emergency care if your baby has:
Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, Zitelli BJ, Davis HW. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2007:chap 431
Park MK. Park: Pediatric Cardiology for Practitioners, 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 16.
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