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Today, in India, the rate of heart problems among children under 18 years of age, are not very common but are steeply rising. This is alarming and needs dedicated, world-class care. These problems could be due to multiple reasons such as genetics, birth defects, unhealthy lifestyle, improper growth, smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy by the mother or more. Mostly, heart problems in children develop while they are in the uterus and in other cases could also be caused by certain illness during childhood. Cardiac ailments in children can take several forms and need expert medical attention – medications, surgery, post-follow-ups, etc. Paediatric cardiology is the field which is dedicated to provide holistic treatment for children of all ages; it encompasses comprehensive care for patients – from pregnancy, through infancy, childhood, teenage years and later – that have congenital or acquired heart problem.

Children are very different from adults and one such area of vast difference is the cardiac space. The cardiac problems of children vary immensely than those of normal adults; hence, children their care needs to be more specialized and attentive. Many children suffering from heart problems do not show any symptoms and may appear healthy, hence, oftentimes such problems also tend to get ignored until later when they become extremely critical. Paediatric cardiology is a branch of general cardiology that exclusively focuses on children, infants and unborn children with various cardiac problems, and involves diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cardiac defects and problems in them.

One should visit a paediatric cardiologist if the child tends to show any of the below symptoms such as:

  • Blue lips and skin
  • Difficulty in feeding (sweating, breathlessness, etc.)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Poor growth
  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue
  • Weak immunity
  • Heart murmur
  • Fainting
  • Lack of physical activeness
  • Chest pain

The symptoms indicate that the heart is not functioning properly and needs medical attention. That said, Paediatric cardiologists are doctors who have expertise in diagnosing and treating children with heart conditions. These paediatric cardiologists’ work closely with cardiothoracic surgeons, paediatricians focussed on other specialities, and expert nurses and staff to provide highly quality, patient-centric and family-oriented care for children. A paediatric cardiologist can treat several conditions for patients such as:

  • Infancy cardiovascular collapse
  • Cardiac failure
  • Newborn cyanosis
  • Heart murmurs
  • Chest pain, palpitations
  • Fatigue and  fainting
  • Congenital heart problem
  • Cardiovascular defects
  • Cardiac abnormalities
  • Heart transplant
  • Aortic valve stenosis
  • Arterial trunk
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)

Paediatric cardiology entails learning general paediatrics to ensure all-round care of the growing and developing individual. It involves treatment of congenital heart defects, irregular heart beat and rhythm, as well as circulatory function problems. Additionally, Paediatric cardiology involves extensive training and skill in handling and treating children, in the best possible manner.

Paediatric cardiology also involves performing several tests to detect heart problems. These tests are simple, non-invasive, and quick including chest X-ray, ECG, ultrasound scan, etc. The treatment of a child suffering from a heart ailment depends on the type of heart problem and the severity of the case. Most heart defects tend to resolve over time with specialized care offered by paediatric cardiology; the other heart problems are treated by medications and while some may also require surgical intervention. Thus, it is very important to take proper paediatric cardiology consultation and evaluate all options to ensure the child receives the best paediatric cardiology care. A healthy child is a happy child.

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