For most parents, having a child is the best thing that ever happened to them. But what if that child has a birth defect? A time of joyful anticipation shared with family and friends can be overshadowed by overwhelming anxiety and stress that has the potential to be both emotionally and financially devastating. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Advances in science and technology have saved the lives of many children. A child diagnosed with congenital heart disease today has a very good chance of surviving and living a long and full life. But a lot depends on you. It’s very easy to get stuck in a cycle of questions with no answers. It’s natural to ask, “Why me?” and “Why my child?” Instead, try asking, “What can I do to help my child have the best possible life?” SecondsCount is designed to help you gather the information and resources you need to understand your child’s heart disease and make informed treatment decisions. But first, your child needs a reliable diagnosis.
Symptoms of a Heart Problem
A child with a heart problem may or may not have symptoms. Common childhood heart symptoms are heart murmur, chest pain, fainting (syncope), and abnormal heart rhythms. They can indicate a heart condition or be unrelated. A physician can help you find out for sure. See Common Heart Conditions in Children for more information on symptoms of specific heart conditions in children.
If your doctor suspects that your child has a heart problem, he or she may order a number of tests. Understanding how those tests work and what information they can provide can make the process less confusing for families and patients. For detailed descriptions of the tests and what to expect, see Pediatic Tests for Congenital heart Disease.