About Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
What is pediatric cardiac surgery?
This is surgery to the heart to repair heart defects in a child. The defects may be congenital (defects that a child is born with) or heart disease that a child gets after birth.
What is a Pediatric Heart Surgeon?
A pediatric cardiac surgeon is a heart surgeon who has special training in diagnosing treating and managing heart diseases and conditions in children. A pediatric heart surgeon treats complex congenital heart defects in newborns, children, and adolescents, as well as adults. Because of the small size of children pediatric heart surgeons have special skills needed to provide the best possible care to the children.
Pediatric heart surgeons are medical doctors who have completed at least 4 years of medical school, 5 years of general surgical residency, and 2-3 years of cardiothoracic residency and an additional 2-4 year of training in pediatric cardiac surgery.
Types of cardiac surgical procedures
Symptoms that indicate that surgery is needed are:
- Open-heart surgery: This is when the surgeon opens up the chest and performs surgery on the muscles, valves or arteries of the heart. A heart-lung bypass machine is usually used during open heart surgery. Open heart surgery is also referred to as traditional heart surgery. It involves the doctor making an incision through the sternum. The child is usually under general anesthesia. Tubes are used to re-route the blood through a heart-lung bypass machine. This machine adds oxygen to the blood and keeps the blood warm and circulating through the rest of the body while the surgeon repairs the heart. Using the heart-lung bypass machine allows the heart to be stopped so that the surgeon can repair the heart muscles, valves or blood vessels. After the repair is complete, the heart is started again and the machine is removed. The incisions are then closed.
- Thoracotomy: This procedure involves making an incision on the side of the chest, between the ribs. It is also called closed heart surgery. This surgery is performed using special instruments and a camera.
- Others: Another way to repair heart defects is by inserting small tubes into an artery in the leg and passes them up to the heart. However, not all heart defects can be repaired this way.
Before the Procedure
- Blue or gray skin, lips or nail beds. These symptoms indicate that there is lack of oxygen in the blood.
- Difficulty breathing because the lungs are congested or filled with fluid.
- Problems with the heart rate or heart rhythm
- Poor feeding or sleeping
- Lack of growth and development in a child
After the Procedure
- If your child is older try and talk to them before the procedure. Try and explain the procedure and why it is important to have it. Tell your doctor of any medications that your child is taking including supplements.
- Your child may require different tests which include:
- Blood tests
- X-rays of the chest area
- Echocardiogram (ECHO, or ultrasound of the heart)
- Electrocardiogram (EKG, or ECG)
- Cardiac catheterization
- History and physical
- Most children who have open-heart surgery require 2-4 days in the intensive care unit right after surgery. During their time in the ICU, your child will have:
- A tube in the airway and a respirator to help with breathing. Your child will be kept sedated while on the respirator.
- One or more small tubes in a vein (IV line) to give fluids and medicines.
- A small tube in an artery
- 1 or 2 chest tubes to drain air, blood, and fluid from the chest cavity.
- A tube through the nose into the stomach to empty the stomach and deliver medicines and feedings for several days.
- A tube in the bladder to drain and measure the urine for several days.
- Many electrical lines and tubes used to monitor the child.
- By the time your child leaves the ICU, most of the tubes and wires will be removed and the child can begin resuming their regular activities.
Risks : Bleeding during or after surgery
Bad reactions to medications
Blood clots (thrombi)
Air bubbles (air emboli)
Heartbeat problems (arrhythmias)
Learn more about Pediatric Cardiac Surgery