Cardiovascular Diseases in Children
Dr.Vachara Jamjureeruk, Pediatric Cardiologist and Chief of Pediatric Center at Phyathai 2 Hospital, one of the medical team who has treated heart problems by not using surgical option, will talk about cardiovascular diseases in children including the treatment without requiring surgery.
Q: How many types of heart diseases in children and what are the causes?
A: There are two types of heart diseases found in children.
1. Congenital heart defect which is divided into two types
1.1 Cyanosis (blue skin color) – non-oxygenated blood pumped out to the body
1.2 Non-Cyanotic ( no blue skin color) – non-oxygenated blood not pumped out to the body
Q: How do parents know about their children’s heart condition?
A: Parents can know whether their children have congenital heart diseases by observing the following symptoms
1. Your baby becomes easily tired when drinking milk from the bottle.
Babies diagnosed with congenital heart diseases usually drink milk longer and less than usual. Babies cannot drink milk continuously without a break as a hole in the dividing wall of the heart allows extra blood being pumped into the lung arteries causing lungs and heart to work harder.
2. Your baby breathing is faster than normal.
Due to a hole in the septum that makes excessive pulmonary blood flow, gas exchange does not proceed normally, this leads to fast breathing.
3. Your baby has trouble in growing at a normal rate.
Babies with congenital heart diseases may grow or develop slowly than others since they expend more energy which then remain less or not enough for them to reach their growth milestones.
4. Babies with congenital heart diseases have higher metabolic rate than healthy babies.
You may notice from sweating, cool and pale skin that are not usual compared with healthy babies.
5. Blue skin color
For Cyanosis, bluish color to the skin can be observed on lips, at the tip of the hands and toes
Q: What kinds of treatment for a child with congenital heart disease?
A: The treatment for congenital heart defect in children depends on the type and the severity of the defect which can be classified in the following:
1. Medications such as drug treatment in congestive heart failure
2. Interventions such as using a balloon or special device to close the holes
The treatment option is chosen based on the type and the severity of the disease.
Q: What are technologies for non-surgical treatments available in the hospital?
A: Nowadays, the hospital has brought non-surgical treatments such as for PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus or abnormal blood flow, Atrail Septal Defect (ASD) which both have simple and safe procedure.
Q: What are the steps for the treatment using non-surgical options?
A: The treatment today is done without the surgery; a device looking like an umbrella is inserted into a vein to close holes in the heart and this takes only 2 hours. It does not leave scar. After the treatment, if there are no complications, children can return homes for further treatment and can lead normal lives.
In case of surgery, performing heart surgery with general anesthesia on children is risky. Children have to be taken care closely in ICU for observing the symptoms about 1-2 days which make the cost of treatment higher. At present, the non-surgical treatment for closing the holes in both PDA and ASD is more safe and cheaper.
Q: How do parents can take care of their children with congenital heart disease?
A: In terms of caring for a child who undergoes heart surgery, children can have a normal life and they can exercise as usual. On the other hand, children who do not have surgery need constant support for them to have a healthy body for the future surgery. Most importantly, prevent them from infections such as pneumonia, encourage them to eat all five food groups, and do not allow them to participate in competitive sports. They should have normal lives as much as possible. Finally, children should receives vaccinations to prevent them from infections because children with heart diseases can be easily infected and have more chances to develop chronic diseases more than other kids.
You may find our specialist here at Pediatric Center, Phyathai 2 Hospital
Phyathai 2 Hospital
International Correspondence Center
Tel: +66-2617-2444 ext. 2020 or 2047 E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org