Heart diseases, in general, invoke a sense of fear in many. It’s even worse when it’s associated with children. Cardiac disease is a broad term that can mean different types of problems with the heart. Some of the heart conditions never show any symptoms, and are never diagnosed, while others are quite severe and life threatening at birth which requires immediate attention. Heart surgery, especially, pediatric cardiac surgery is something we must be aware of.
With the advancement in technology and latest surgical procedures, pediatric cardiac diseases can be diagnosed and treated successfully. Let’s see more in detail about Pediatric Cardiology – heart diseases, symptoms, treatments, and pediatric cardiac surgeries.
So what is Pediatric Cardiology?
Pediatric Cardiology deals with diseases / defects of the heart in a growing individual. It could mean an individual having heart disease since birth, or developing it in the growing up stages.
Some of the common heart conditions are listed:
Congenital (Present since birth):
- Pulmonary Atresia
- Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
- Anomalous Coronary Arteries
- Ebstein’s Anomaly
- Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return
Acquired (Developed after birth):
- Rheumatic Fever
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy
What are the symptoms of heart disease in a child?
If your child suffers from any or all of the following symptoms, then there are chances of the child having a heart disease.
- Abnormal weight gain
- Frequent chest infections
- Experiences frequent palpitations
- Not able to maintain the same pace as friends of the same age, e.g: while playing
- Child gets blue
These are some of the symptoms that your child may display if he/she has a heart disease. It is better to consult a paediatric cardiologist for proper diagnosis / treatment. Heart diseases in children is treatable, hence, if your child is diagnosed early on, then he/she can be completely cured.
Do pediatric heart diseases require lifelong treatment?
Well, not all heart diseases require lifelong treatment. Also, it depends on the child’s heart disease severity; whether it’s major or minor. So not all heart diseases require treatment, and some are good to go with just regular follow ups. However, a timely diagnosis and proper treatment right from the initial stages is crucial.
What is the common test advised?
Commonly advised test by doctors is Echocardiography to diagnose the condition.
What is Pediatric Cardiac Surgery?
Paediatric Cardiac surgery as the name suggests, is done to treat heart defects in a child. It is required for the child’s overall health and well-being. Heart defects can be of various kinds, some major and other not so serious. In fact, some cardiac surgeries are needed immediately after a baby is born. In other scenarios, the child can wait for few months / years to undergo surgery. Depending on the seriousness of the condition, the child may have to undergo only one surgery, or a series of procedures.
The various techniques used for fixing congenital heart defects are Open-heart surgery, Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery, Thoracotomy, and another procedure where small tubes are inserted into an artery in the leg and passed to the heart.
Outcome of heart surgery in children:
In today’s day and age, heart surgeries have excellent outcome with good long-term results provided they are diagnosed at the right time. Whatever the age, with appropriate evaluation, most of the heart diseases can be cured.