Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
Heavy breathing
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Questions in this forum are answered by pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This forum is for questions and support about pediatric heart problems, symptoms and topics such as heart murmurs, palpitations, fainting, chest pain, congenital heart defects (including management and intervention), fetal cardiology, adult congenital cardiology, arrhythmias and pre-participation athletic screening.

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Heavy breathing

My 4 yr. old son had OHS 6/10 for repair of ASD,PAPVR then he had cath ablation precedure 3/11 for complications from heart surgery with his heart rate. He is currently not on any heart medications and since he had the ablation has not had any known heart rate issues. Sometimes I have notice him breathing hard or sometimes while talking he seems like he's trying to catch he breath. His school teacher also has asked me if everythings ok with him breathing like that. His last appointment at his cardiologist was about two weeks ago and I explained to him my concerns, but he seems to think everything looks good. He had an EKG done, his oxygen levels are in the 90's, but sometimes his heart rate will drop in the low to mid 60's. I just want to know if there is anything else that might cause him to breath heavy? Also, at the pre-cath evaluation, the echocardiogram showed no residual ASD and trivial SVC stenosis with a mean gradient of only 3 mm. There was mild stenosis of the baffled RUPV with flow acceleration and mean gradient of 5 mm Hg. After this findings, a lung perfusion scan was done and showed mildly diminished flow to the apex of the right lung. and a mildly left shifted overall distribution, 50% R-50% L. They have recommended for him to have a yearly lung scan. Just wanted to know if I should be concerned and if there is something else we might should look at?
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773655_tn?1340656399
The major cardiac issue after repair of Partially anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR) is whether any narrowing (stenosis) of the baffled pulmonary veins will occur.  If pulmonary veins get narrowed that can cause pressure to back up in that lung and can affect the blood flow distribution to the lungs.  It sounds like small pressure gradients have been noted by echo already.  It would be important to ask your child's cardiologist if there is any evidence of pulmonary hypertension by the echocardiogram.  If there is, that could play a part in his breathing issues.  I would not expect a slow heart rate to give him breathing issues.  The other causes of heavy breathing would not be cardiac in origin.  You could have the child seen by a lung specialist (pulmonologist) to see if there is any evidence of obstructive (asthmatic) or restrictive lung disease.
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Jeffrey R Boris, M.D.Blank
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
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