• Children and Heart Disease

     
     
     
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    4/20/2013

    Child with Teddy BearIf your child is born with a heart defect or acquires a heart problem during childhood, you will no doubt have many questions. As you seek answers, on this website, from your doctor, and from other sources, keep in mind that new therapies and technologies sized especially for children continue to improve the outcomes for children born with a congenital heart defect or who acquire a heart condition as they are growing up. In fact, some 90 percent of children born with a heart defect survive to adulthood (see adult congenital heart disease).

    Also, know that as the parent of a child with heart disease or as an adult survivor of congenital heart disease, you are not alone. Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect, affecting 1 in every 100 infants. According to the American Heart Association, from 1994 to 2004, death rates for congenital heart defects declined more than 30 percent. The chance that children born with a heart defect will be able to live a normal life is very high as well. 

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    Of course, babies cry. But Dr. James A. Kuo explains what it means for babies with congenital heart disease.

    The lists of topics below can help you begin your search for information related to children with heart disease, as well as congenital heart disease into adulthood

    Could My Child Have Heart Disease?

    • Common Childhood Heart Symptoms. Symptoms such as heart murmur, chest pain, fainting (syncope), and abnormal heart rhythms can indicate a heart condition or may be harmless. A physician can help you find out for sure. 
    • Pediatric Tests and Diagnostics. Any child who doctors suspect may have heart disease will undergo a variety of tests. Understanding how those tests work and what information they can provide can make the process less confusing for families and patients.
    • Pre-Participation Screening for Sports. Children with or without known heart disease may benefit from pre-participation screening for sports.
    • The Normal Human Heart. To understand congenital or acquired heart disease in children, it can help to first understand how a normal heart and blood circulation function.

    Life with Pediatric Heart Disease

    • Congenital Heart Disease. Specific congenital heart diseases differ in their symptoms, progression, and treatment. Visit this special section of SecondsCount for an extensive list and detailed information about congenital heart diseases.
    • Acquired Heart Disease in Children. Though acquired heart disease is more common in adults, children can also acquire specific heart diseases after birth. 
    • Pediatric Treatment and Prevention. New, innovative treatments are improving outcomes for pediatric heart patients. Treatments often combine medications and interventional or surgical procedures.
    • Diet. Babies born with congenital heart disease have special dietary considerations. And just as with adults, children with heart disease should eat a balanced, healthy diet and limit cholesterol.
    • Patients’ Stories. You truly aren’t alone. Read about other patients’ stories.

    Adults Living with Congenital Heart Disease

    • Adults with Congenital Heart Disease. Improved treatment options have led to more congenital heart disease patients surviving to adulthood. Adult congenital heart disease can present specific challenges as these patients take over their own care as they reach adulthood and make decisions about starting families of their own.
  • More on Children and Heart Disease

    Abnormal Heart Rhythms

    To understand abnormal heart rhythms, or heartbeats, it can be helpful to first understand how your heart’s electrical system governs the heartbeat.

    Bringing Happy Holidays to the Hospital: Celebrating with the Little Heart Patient in Your Life

    For the family of a young heart patient, making the most of the “most wonderful time of year” can be daunting. Keeping traditions going during the holidays may seem like a stressor you just don’t have time for. Take heart, though, because those traditions can also bring a sense of normalcy for you, your child, and your whole family. We asked SecondsCount doctors and nurses for suggestions about how to enjoy the holidays if you’re in the hospital.

    Chest Pain in Children

    Chest pain in children is extremely common. In fact, it is one of the most frequent reasons why a child may be referred to a cardiologist. It affects girls and boys equally. Numerous studies have shown that chest pain can have a significant impact in the lives of children

    Children and Heart Disease

    If your child is born with a heart defect or acquires a heart problem during childhood, you will no doubt have many questions. As you seek answers, on this website, from your doctor, and from other sources, keep in mind that new therapies and technologies sized especially for children continue to improve the outcomes for children born with a congenital heart defect or who acquire a heart condition as they are growing up. In fact, some 90 percent of children born with a heart defect survive to adulthood.

    Cholesterol

    High cholesterol is often thought of as a problem that you only have to deal with as an adult. Most people do not think they need to worry about cholesterol levels in their children, but that is not true.

    Energy Drinks & The Heart: Know the Risks

    According to some reports, up to half of children and young adults in the United States consume the beverages known as “energy drinks” or “energy shots,” which may contain three to five times the caffeine in a same-size can of soda. Even as their popularity has grown, energy drinks have come under scrutiny for possibly serious health effects, including heart rhythm problems, increased blood pressure, and—in rare cases—cardiac arrest.

    Fainting (Syncope)

    Fainting, or syncope, is the temporary loss of consciousness and tone in the body that results from a temporarily inadequate blood supply to the brain. Insufficient blood flow to the brain may be due to a decreased amount of blood leaving the heart or to increased pooling of blood in the rest of the body

    Feeding a Baby Who Has Congenital Heart Disease

    The goal of feeding any infant or baby is to have steady and continued weight gain. This holds true for infants and babies with congenital heart disease (CHD),although appropriate weight gain may be more difficult.

    Heart Murmur

    A heart murmur is simply a noise made by blood as it travels through the heart and vessels. It does not necessarily imply that there is an abnormality with the heart. In fact, many murmurs are commonly heard in normal children and adults.

    Performance-Enhancing Drugs & The Heart: Do You & Your Teens Know the Dangers of Doping?

    Use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), also known as “doping,” isn’t just a problem among elite athletes like Lance Armstrong. Unfortunately, PED use is widespread in high schools, colleges, and gyms across the United States. Many young people may feel pressured – by their peers or by their own ambitions – to use these illegal drugs to improve their competitive performance, lose weight, or improve their own body image. Doping may raise the risk for a number of serious health-related problems, including increased risk of heart-related death and long-term cardiovascular damage.

    Pulse Oximetry Screening: Simple Test Saves Lives

    Each year, approximately 1 of every 110 babies is born with a heart defect. When a heart problem is present at birth, it is called congenital heart disease. Heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, causing 24 percent of birth-defect-related infant deaths. Certain heart defects that are serious enough to require treatment during the first year of life are referred to as critical congenital heart defects (CCHD). For many babies, the first step toward successful treatment is a quick, painless test called pulse oximetry. Many states now require hospitals to perform pulse oximetry screening before a newborn is sent home.

    Sports/Pre-Participation Screening

    As a parent, you of course want to do everything you can to protect your child’s health. If your child is about to begin playing a sport and has no known cardiovascular defects, you may wonder if he or she should be screened for heart problems.

    The Faces of Congenital Heart Disease in America

    Congenital heart disease—heart disease that is present at birth—is the most common type of birth defect. Approximately 1 out of every 150 babies is born with some form of congenital heart disease. While congenital heart defects are common, not all cases are serious enough to require treatment. In cases where treatment is necessary, advances in medical technology and practice are making it possible for more patients than ever to not only survive into adulthood but to do so with a high quality of life.