Pediatric cardiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating heart problems in children. In those children who might need heart surgery, pediatric cardiologists work closely with pediatric heart surgeons to determine the best treatments and interventions.
A number of heart conditions can affect children. Some are structural differences they are born with. Others involve the electrical system that controls the heartbeat. Pediatric cardiologists are specially trained to diagnose and manage these problems.
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Like all organs in the body, the heart needs a constant supply of blood. This is supplied by two large blood vessels called the left and right coronary arteries.
Over time, these arteries can become narrowed and hardened by the build-up of fatty deposits called plaques. This process is known as atherosclerosis, People with atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries are said to have coronary heart disease.
After a heart attack, you will need to see your doctor regularly for check-ups to see how your heart is doing. Most people who don’t have chest pain or discomfort or other problems can safely return to their normal activities within a few weeks. Depending upon your condition, the doctor may recommend it.
Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoke, changing the diet, or increasing your physical activity. Medications to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure and help reduce the heart’s workload.
- Don’t smoke and avoid passive smoke
- Treat high blood pressure
- Eat food that is low in saturated fats, trans-fat, cholesterol and salt
Surgery is not an option to be considered lightly. Your cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeon Will only recommend CABG when they believe other options like prescription drugs or balloon angioplasty cannot achieve the goal of keeping a patient healthy.
As with any other surgical procedure, there are certain risks that a patient should be aware of prior to surgery. The magnitudes of risks vary according to each patient’s specific health conditions. As with all types of surgery, a coronary artery bypass graft carries the risk of complications. Some of the main complications associated With a CABG are described below;
Up to one in every three people who have a CABG will develop a problem called atrial fibrillation, This is a condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate, However, this is not usually serious and can normally be treated easily with a course of medication,
There is a chance that the wounds in your chest and arm or leg depending on where the grafted blood vessels were removed could become infected after a CABG. This is estimated to occur in up to one in every 25 people who have the procedure.
There is also a smaller chance of more serious infections affecting the lungs or inside of the chest after CABG.
Reduced kidney function
Less than one In every 20 people who have a CABG will experience reduced kidney function offer surgery. In most cases, this is only temporary and the kidneys begin working normally after a few days or weeks.
In rare cases, you may need to have temporary dialysis until your kidneys recover. This involves being attached to a machine that replicates the functions of the kidneys.
Problems affecting the brain
Up to one in every 20 people experience some problems after a CABG and also find it difficult to concentrate on things like reading a book or newspaper. This will usually improve In the months following the operation, but it can sometimes be permanent. There is also a risk of serious problems affecting the brain during or after a CABG, such as a stroke, which can leave you with permanent movement, speaking and swallowing problems and can be difficult in some cases
Both the: heart and the coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood are in a vulnerable state after surgery, especially in the first 30 days after a CABG. Your chances of developing coronary heart increase with age are more likely if you smoke, are overweight or obese, diabetic and if you eat a high-fat diet. Coronary heart disease can cause angina, which is chest pain that occurs when the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart becomes restricted.
There are several factors that increase your risk of developing complications, including:
Your age — Your risk of developing complications after surgery increases is you get older.
Having another serious long-term health condition — Having a condition such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or severe chronic kidney disease can increase your risk of complications.
Being a woman — Women tend to develop coronary artery disease later than men. It is thought this may lead to a higher risk of experiencing complications because they are generally older at the time of surgery.
Having emergency surgery to treat a heart attack — Emergency surgery is always riskier as there is less time to plan the surgery, and the heart can be seriously damaged from the heart attack.
Having three or more vessels grafted — The more complex the operation, the greater the chance of complications will occur.
Being obese — If you are obese the surgeon will have to make a deeper incision io gain access to your heart, and deeper incisions carry o higher risk of becoming infected
Contact your doctor for advice as soon as possible if you experience any of the following problems:
- Severe or increasing pain in or around the wound
- Extreme Shortness of breath
- Swelling around the wound
- Any pus coming out from the wound