• Children and Heart Disease

    Children and Heart Disease

    One in every 100 children is born with a heart defect, and others acquire heart conditions during childhood. Heart disease in children is diagnosed and treated by interventional cardiologists and other doctors who have special training and tools sized especially for children.

  • Heart and Vascular Disease

    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

    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.

    High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) in Children

    High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 10 to 15 percent of the school-age population, according to several studies. Even babies can have high blood pressure.

    Congenital Heart Disease

    Congenital heart disease refers to problems of the heart and major arteries that are present at birth. While heart defect is the most common birth defect, the chance of survival is high. Advances in interventional cardiology have played an important role in increased survival rates.

    Acquired Heart Disease

    A heart disease that develops after birth is described as an acquired heart disease.


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
  • Treatment and Prevention

    Diagnosing the Cause of Fainting

    To determine the cause of your child’s fainting, your child’s physician may use a number of diagnostic tests. [Link to III.F.4] Of critical importance to the doctor, however, are details about how fainting episodes happen, how frequently they occur and the symptoms that are observed before and after the episodes.

    Surgical Repair of the Heart

    Some childhood heart defects require repairs that can only be made through open heart surgery. These repairs may be needed right away – or they may be delayed for months or years. And repairs may be made in a single surgical procedure – or a series of operations may be needed. It all depends on the type and severity of the heart defect and how sick the child is.

    Treatment and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

    Innovations in cardiovascular care are constantly creating effective, less invasive methods for treating and preventing cardiovascular disease. The days when little could be done to combat heart and vascular disease are long over. Whether you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or wish to minimize risk factors you may have, your doctors and other healthcare providers can work with you to identify the best choices for you among a range of treatment and prevention options.

    Treatments for Pediatric Heart Disease

    Depending on your symptoms, health status, medical and family health history and what your test results indicate, your doctor may recommend:
  • Anna Grace Bundros - Thriving After Successful Treatment of Congenital Heart Defect

    In 2000, Anna Grace Bundros was a healthy newborn who met every developmental milestone over the next six years. But the active, vibrant little girl was small for her age and often a little lethargic, lacking the energy to play for hours like other kids her age. A series of tests revealed Anna Grace had a hole in her heart known as an atrial septal defect. Her parents weighed the pros and cons of two treatments and chose the less invasive option. After successful treatment, Anna Grace is thriving and back playing like other girls her age. Read her family’s story.

    Christian Banks - Minimally Invasive Valve Procedures Get Teenager Back in Action

    Christian was born with complex congenital heart disease and underwent numerous procedures throughout his young life, including a series of reconstructive heart surgeries that began when he was just three days old. At age 12, after his energy level dropped and doctors discovered his pulmonary valve had begun to calcify, he underwent a Melody transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement, which returned him to the active life he and his family enjoy. Read his story.

    Claire Kurz - Born With Congenital Heart Conditions and a Fighting Spirit

    Although Claire was born with life-threatening complex congenital heart disease, she was blessed with an incredible fighting spirit, a loving family, and dedicated team of healthcare providers who saved her life with surgery and interventions. Read Claire’s story of survival and how her parents are working to spread awareness about the prevalence of congenital heart defects.

    Harper O’Bomsawin - Toddler on the Run

    An echocardiogram performed when Harper was just days old revealed coarctation of the aorta (CoA), a serious but treatable congenital heart defect. Harper underwent emergency surgery and two angioplasty procedures to ensure her body receives sufficient blood flow. Since then Harper has grown to be a happy, healthy toddler who is, to the delight of her family, always on the run. Read her story.

    Lauren Gray – Born “Blue” But Now Living a Healthy, Colorful Life

    Thirty-nine years ago in a rural North Carolina hospital, doctors told Ken and Cindy Gray their daughter was “born blue and there was nothing they could do for her.” The news devastated the Grays, but Lauren didn’t appear ready to give up. She underwent surgery before she was one week old and procedures at 7 and 17 years old. Today she is a healthy adult who takes care of her heart and makes time to tell others her story. You can read it here.