Benefits of UnityPoint Clinic Pediatric Cardiology
Your child's heart deserves the very best care with a doctor you can trust. Our highly skilled care team works to make sure your son or daughter receives the highest quality and most compassionate care possible. Our patient-centered, team-based approach means we're able to coordinate virtually everything your child needs including tests, surgeries, advanced clinical procedures and rehabilitation - to keep their heart healthy and strong.
What is Pediatric Cardiology?
Pediatric cardiology is the care of children with congenital heart defects. These are heart conditions that have been present since the child's birth. Due to incomplete or abnormal development of the fetus' heart during early stages of pregnancy, congenital heart defects can occur. While congenital heart defects cannot be prevented and their cause is unknown, there are several advanced treatment options available for children of all ages.
What is a Pediatric Cardiologist?
A pediatric cardiologist is a pediatrician who is an expert in detecting and treating cardiac problems and abnormalities in children. Since heart problems can be discovered before birth, evaluation and treatment may begin with the fetus. Pediatric cardiologists can also treat infants and adolescents. Pediatric cardiologists may specialize in different areas such as fetal cardiology, intensive cardiac care, electrophysiology and cardiac catheterization.
What Does a Pediatric Cardiologist do?
If your child is born with a heart defect, much can be done to improve or repair their heart. Procedures such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms exercise tests and stress tests can be performed by pediatric cardiologists to evaluate the condition of your child's heart. For more complicated heart diseases, a cardiac catheterization may be performed. If surgery is necessary, a pediatric cardiologist may work with a pediatric surgeon to arrange the procedure and coordinate the care for your child.
When to see a Pediatric Cardiologist
If your child's pediatrician suspects a heart defect or problem, they will refer you to a pediatric cardiologist. Some heart defects may be evident at birth and will require immediate care and evaluation, while others may be detected later in the child's life. Common causes for referral to a pediatric cardiologist may include the following signs and symptoms. Contact your doctor if these signs are present in your baby or child:
- Bluish tinge or color to the lips, tongue and/or nail beds
- Difficulty breathing or an increased rate of breathing
- Small appetite or trouble feeding
- Weight loss or failure to gain weight
- Chest pains, heart murmurs or palpitations
- Dizziness or sweating
- Reduced strength of a baby's pulse
What to Expect At Your Child's First Visit
Prior to your child's appointment, please fill out a health history form to the best of your ability. This is very important for your child's visit. The information provided will help us better understand and tend to your child's needs.
Please plan for up to three hours for your first visit, depending on your child's age and activity level.
- During your child's visit, please check in at our clinic to meet your physician.
- After this initial meeting, a series of tests may need to be completed.
- A quick EKG will be performed at every visit, unless otherwise indicated.
- To eliminate multiple visits to the office, usually an ECHO (an ultrasound of the heart) will also be completed during the first appointment. A member of our staff will walk you over to the hospital where it will be performed.
- Please note an ECHO with a child could take up to 1.5 hours, depending on the activity of your child. (We suggest bringing a favorite DVD/activity, blanket, stuffed animal and a snack to help your child remain calm during the test.)
- After testing, you will return to meet with the physician to review your results and identify a care plan.
If any questions arise prior to your child's appointment please feel free to call our office.