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Heart failure is when the heart can't pump enough blood to the body. Heart failure can affect the right side of the heart, the left side of the heart, or both sides.
The most common cause of heart failure in children is a heart defect that is present at birth (congenital). Other causes include:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
How severe the symptoms are depends on how much of the heart's pumping ability is affected.
The symptoms of heart failure can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. The provider will look for signs and symptoms that may mean heart failure. If the provider thinks your child has heart failure, your child may need to see a pediatric cardiologist. This is a doctor with special training to diagnose and treat heart problems in children. Tests for heart failure may include:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
If heart failure is caused by a congenital heart defect or another heart problem, the problem may need to be fixed.
Medicines are often used to treat heart failure in children. They may include:
Other treatments include:
Heart failure can cause many complications. These include:
How well your child lives with heart failure depends on many things, including his or her age. It also depends on how severe the symptoms are and what the treatment is. Your child’s healthcare provider will check him or her often. Some pediatric heart centers have special programs for heart failure. Your child may need:
Call your child's healthcare provider if your child's symptoms get worse. These include:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s health care provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.