If a child needs a heart surgery or a repair, a pediatric (cardiac) surgeon is the one who performs the surgery. They offer the special care needed to fix both congenital (existing at birth) and acquired heart problems in children.
Repairing heart in small bodies adds a challenge. But pediatric surgeons have the special skills to provide the safest care to young one.
Pediatric heart surgeon offers a system of care that embraces the special needs of infants, children, and teens, as well as their families. They work very closely with doctors who are pediatric cardiologists. These pediatric heart surgery specialist assists by diagnosing heart conditions and putting sound management plans in place before and after the surgery. Pediatric cardiologists also provide additional treatments for children with heart problems.
Pediatric heart surgeons may also include on their teams specialists in the fields of cardiology, cardiac anesthesia, neonatology, intensive care, nursing, respiratory therapy, and social work. These teams are extensively trained to offer the best medical care for your child before, during, and after surgery.
If your pediatrician suggests that your child see a pediatric heart surgeon or pediatric cardiologist, then these specialists will discuss with you in detail the choices for helping your child, and the possible outcomes. Rest assured that they will offer the right options so that you can choose the best treatment for your child.
#1 PATENT DUCTUS ARTERIOSUS (PDA) LIGATION:
PDA is a heart problem that is frequently noted in the first few weeks or months after birth. All babies are born with this connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery, called the ductus arteriosus. This small vessel most often closes shortly after birth when the baby starts to breathe on their own. If it does not close, it is called a patent ductus arteriosus.
Tying off the ductus arteriosus is called ligation. This procedure may be done in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
#2 COARCTATION OF AORTA (CoA) REPAIR:
A narrowing of the major artery (the aorta) that carries blood to the body is termed as coarctation of aorta. CoA can cause high blood pressure or heart damage.
The most common CoA repair is to cut the narrow section of aorta and patch it with man-made (synthetic) material.
Another way is to remove the narrow section of aorta and stitch the remaining ends.
Or a newer method involve flattening the wire using balloon within the narrow section of the aorta. A stent or small tube is left there to help keep the artery open.
#3 ATRIAL SEPTAL DEFECT (ASD) REPAIR:
ASD is a birth defect that causes a hole in the wall between the heart's upper chambers (atria). Small ASDs may close on their own. Medium-to-large-sized ASDs may need closure by device or surgical correction to close the hole
#4 VENTRICULAR SEPTUM DEFECT (VSD) REPAIR:
A hole in the ventricular septum is called a VSD. By the age of 1-2, most small VSDs close on their own. However, those VSDs that stay open after this age may need to be closed through surgery.
#5 HYPOPLASTIC LEFT HEART REPAIR
This one is the very severe heart defect caused by a very poorly developed heart. And it is not treated, it may cause death in most babies. A series of three surgery is most often needed to correct this defect.
How long will the surgery take?
The amount of time for the surgery depends upon the child's heart defect and type of surgery. Your cardiac surgeon or consultant will be able to answer this question.
What about anaesthesia?
Usually child is given a sedative by mouth to reduce anxiety and may be given an inhaled medicine given through a mask.
Will my child need a blood transfusion during the surgery?
Yes. Any child that undergoes a heart surgery will need a blood transfusion.
Will parents be allowed to stay with child, even in pediatric ICU?
Yes, we encourage a parent to stay with the child.
When will my child be able to eat?
Children are often ready to start eating one day after their heart surgery.
How bad the scar will look like?
Every child heals differently and hence it is difficult to predict how the scars will look. But yes protecting the scar for a good amount of time with cloth can reduce the appearance of the scars.