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Children’s Heart Surgery – Symptoms and Available Treatments

Heart surgery in children is termed as pediatric heart surgery and is needed in the case of heart defects.  Child heart surgery may sometimes be needed right after the birth or can allow the child to wait safely for months or years to perform the surgery.  Sometimes, one surgery is enough to rectify for addressing congenital defects or it may call for series of procedures.

It is even scary to think that your child has a heart defect that has to give a medical attention. Not a worry, this is a relatively common problem faced by 1 in 100 children. There are advanced technology and treatment options to get your child back to normal health.


Gaining the knowledge about the symptoms of heart defects in children will keep you aware of your fears and concerns about your child health are right.


•    Presence of heart murmur- a sound as the heart pumps the blood is the first sign of heart defect in the new born. This creates vibrations that can be heard through doctor’s stethoscope. However, doctors confirms the same after additional tests

•       Breathing difficulties from lung congestion is another sign that calls for child heart surgery within the first year of the life.

•    Children with blue skin, a condition called cyanosis are also a symptom of heart defect.

•    Other signs and symptoms that you should seek medical attention suspecting the caused to include increased rate of breathing, poor appetite associated with colour change, failure to gain or lose weight, prolonged fever, and decreased energy level.


Treatment options

Many heart problems in a child can be treated with single heart surgery. If your child is detected more complex abnormalities, the child may require a series of heart surgery procedures beginning from the newborn period to the period of 3 years age. Children with complex heart abnormalities may have to spend a lot of time under the care of their parents at home while you have occasional visits to a pediatric cardiologist and primary child care doctor.

If your child has to get treated for obstruction in the blood vessel, doctors may choose to balloon angioplasty that is performed in the catheterization lab rather than operation theatre. The procedure involves insertion of a plastic tube with a balloon attached to the blood vessel to open the narrow area of the blood vessel.


Doctors may not suggest the child heart surgery even to close the abnormal openings of the heart blood vessels. They choose to transcatheter device occlusion to treat surgery avoiding the problem.

If your child is detected with the problems like ventricular defects that are the small and moderate size that hampers the growth of the child, the doctors may wait for the hole to close prescribing some medications before the child heart surgery. Some scenarios demand the children continue the medication post surgery too.

Irrespective of the treatment options given by the doctor (medically or surgically), the child may have frequent visits to the pediatric surgeon during the initial days of the treatments. They can be reduced as the treatment progresses.