Regular medical care is important for all children, but especially for those with congenital heart defects. Your pediatric cardiologist will want your pediatrician or family doctor to check your child regularly.
A child with a heart defect usually gets through common childhood illnesses as quickly and easily as children with normal hearts. Sometimes parents think that their child with heart disease will need more medicine to get through an illness but this is usually not true. Also, your child doesn't need antibiotics to help prevent infections with a few notable exceptions, including children with heterotaxy syndromes like asplenia, or, in some cases of DiGeorge syndrome. Some parents think that giving their child antibiotics before the child is very sick will prevent the illness from getting worse. This also isn't true and may make the infection more serious and make the child resistant to antibiotics in the future.
It's best to remember that preventing infection starts with good hygiene, good nutrition and common sense. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is a good way to prevent illness, especially during the cold and flu season. Try to avoid crowded settings like shopping malls if your child's doctor is concerned that your child wouldn't tolerate an infection. You may want to ask the doctor or nurse if it's appropriate to have your child in daycare.
Your child should have routine care and the standard immunizations that your doctor recommends for all children. The influenza vaccine is also recommended when children are old enough. If your young child has certain heart defects, a series of monthly shots for the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may be recommended during the winter months.
Más información sobre cómo trabajar con las necesidades especiales de su hijo
Revisiones con el cardiólogo pediátrico
Most children with heart defects need periodic heart checkups. They are usually scheduled more often just after the diagnosis or surgery and less often later. For minor conditions checkups may only be needed every one to five years. Depending on your child's condition, periodic testing may be needed. These tests may include:
- Electrocardiograma estándar
- Electrocardiograma ambulatorio durante 24 horas (Holter)
- Radiografía de tórax
- Routine (transthoracic) echocardiogram (TTE)
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
- Exploración mediante RM o TC del corazón
- Prueba de esfuerzo
- Cateterismo cardíaco y angiografía
Preventing Infective Endocarditis
Infective endocarditis (IE) is an infection caused by bacteria that enter the bloodstream and settle in the heart lining, a heart valve or a blood vessel.
Aunque la EI es poco frecuente, los niños con determinados defectos cardíacos tienen un mayor riesgo de desarrollarla. Una buena higiene dental contribuye en gran medida a prevenir una infección cardíaca, ya que reduce el riesgo de que se produzca una infección en los dientes o las encías. La American Heart Association también ha actualizado recientemente las directrices para la prevención de la endocarditis. Su cardiólogo pediátrico le dará más información sobre estas directrices.
Si tiene alguna pregunta, hable con su cardiólogo pediátrico o con el personal de enfermería.
Most children with a congenital heart defect can be physically active without restrictions. In fact, children are encouraged to be physically active to keep their hearts fit and to avoid obesity. Some healthy activities include swimming, bicycling, running, rope jumping and tennis. For a few specific heart conditions, a pediatric cardiologist may advise that your child avoid some strenuous physical activities and high school competitive sports. It is good to have these discussions during each visit over the years as your child grows and interests change.
It's very important that babies and children with congenital heart defects follow the age-based American Heart Association recommendations for a heart-healthy diet. Your doctor, nurse or other health care professional can give you more information. Sometimes babies and children with heart disease need a higher-calorie diet or have special dietary requirements to grow well and stay healthy.