Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
child enlarged heart
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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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child enlarged heart

After childbirth, a pediatric doctor diagnosed my grandchild a normal baby with no detected birth defects. However, after a monthly pediatric check up, 3 days ago my grandchild was found to have an enlarged heart, wherein the former pediatric doctor was unable to detect. Doctors recommended a surgery to correct the heart enlargement defect.
My questions: 1. Can a child (4 months old) survive the delicate procedure?
                      2. Can surgery be delayed 7 months hereafter, for the child to reach the age of 11 months?
                      3. Will you recommend surgery to correct the heart defect immediately, or 7 months hereafter?
                      4. Are there any ways to correct this child's heart enlargement defects, without surgery or are there  any options?
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Dear madz475: unfortunately, your specific questions  cannot be answered given the little information that you have provided.  An “enlarged heart” can be from a number of different conditions, either congenital (born with it) or acquired (happens after birth).  There are many forms of congenital heart disease, many of which can be addressed by surgery, but some cannot.  The good news is that open heart surgery on children as young as newborns can be performed well in experienced hands.  The timing of heart surgery also depends upon its severity.  There are many heart conditions that do require a surgical intervention soon after diagnosis, but there are others where time, medication and observation can sometimes help.  Therefore, your grandchild should be cared for in a facility that does heart surgery on children with regularity, as outcomes are improved at hospitals that do these procedures  frequently.  It sounds like you and your family need to get much more information from the doctors caring for your grandchild in order to understand the issues, including risks and benefits of surgery, more clearly.
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Jeffrey R Boris, M.D.Blank
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
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