Pediatric Heart Surgery
The news that your kid needs heart surgery isn’t easy to listen to. we tend to understand that you simply can have several queries and concerns about the surgical process and what you’ll expect. The expert cardiac surgeons and specially-trained staff at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital can support your family through every turn.
Our pediatric cardiac surgeons are highly regarded for his or her experience in a very broad vary of congenital repairs.
Your child’s viscus surgery are going to be performed by pediatric cardiac surgeons in one in all the nation’s most advanced surgery centers. Providence Sacred Heart could be a leader within the treatment of heart disease and our extremely trained team offers a wealth of experience in traditional procedures, still as innovative techniques.
As a partner in your child’s cardiac care, we are going to work closely together with your referring physician to help ensure coordinated care throughout your lodge in the hospital and once you come back home.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Some heart defects need repair soon after birth. For others, it is better to wait months or years. Certain heart defects may not need to be repaired.
In general, symptoms that indicate that surgery is needed are:
- Blue or gray skin, lips, and nail beds (cyanosis). These symptoms mean there is not enough oxygen in the blood (hypoxia).
- Difficulty breathing because the lungs are “wet,” congested, or filled with fluid (heart failure).
- Problems with heart rate or heart rhythm (arrhythmias).
- Poor feeding or sleeping, and lack of growth and development of the child.
Risks for any surgery are:
- Bleeding during surgery or in the days after surgery
- Bad reactions to medicines
- Problems breathing
Additional risks of heart surgery are:
- Blood clots (thrombi)
- Air bubbles (air emboli)
- Heartbeat problems (arrhythmias)
- Heart attack
Before the Procedure
If your child is talking, tell them about the surgery. If you have a preschool-aged child, tell them the day before what will happen. Say, for example, “We are going to the hospital to stay for a few days. The doctor is going to do an operation on your heart to make it work better.”
If your child is older, start talking about the procedure 1 week before the surgery. You should involve the child’s life specialist (someone who helps children and their families during times like major surgery) and show the child the hospital and surgical areas.
Your child may need many different tests:
- Blood tests (complete blood count, electrolytes, clotting factors, and “cross match”)
- X-rays of the chest
- Electrocardiogram (EKG, or ECG)
- Echocardiogram (ECHO, or ultrasound of the heart)
- Cardiac catheterization
- History and physical
Always tell your child’s health care provider what medicines your child is taking. Include drugs, herbs, and vitamins you bought without a prescription.
During the days before the surgery:
- If your child is taking blood thinners (drugs that make it hard for blood to clot), such as warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin, talk with your child’s provider about when to stop giving these drugs to the child.
- Ask which drugs the child should still take on the day of the surgery.
On the day of the surgery:
- Your child will most often be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
- Give your child any drugs you have been told to give with a small sip of water.
- You will be told when to arrive at the hospital.
After the Procedure
Most children who have open-heart surgery need to stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) for 2 to 4 days right after surgery. They most often stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 more days after they leave the ICU. Stays in the intensive care unit and the hospital are often shorter for people who have closed-heart surgery.
During their time in the ICU, your child will have:
- A tube in the airway (endotracheal tube) and a respirator to help with breathing. Your child will be kept sleeping (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 (arterial line).
- One or 2 chest tubes to drain air, blood, and fluid from the chest cavity.
- A tube through the nose into the stomach (nasogastric tube) 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.
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