Get answers to your pediatric cardiac and adult congenital surgeries questions.
Heart surgery - pediatric; Heart surgery for children; Acquired heart disease, Heart valve surgery - children
Most children who have open-heart surgery need to stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) for 2 to 4 days right after surgery. They usually stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 more days after they leave the ICU. Stays in the intensive care unit and the hospital are usually shorter for patients who have closed-heart surgery.
During their time in the ICU, your child will have:
By the time your child leaves the ICU, most of the tubes and wires will be removed. Your child will be encouraged to start many of their regular daily activities. Some children may begin eating or drinking on their own within 1 or 2 days, but others may take longer.
When your child is discharged from the hospital, parents and caregivers are taught what activities are okay for their child to do, how to care for the incision, and how to give medicines their child may need.
Your child needs at least several more weeks at home to recover. Talk with your doctor about when your child can return to school or daycare.
Your child will need follow-up visits with a cardiologist (heart doctor) every 6 to 12 months. Your child may need to take antibiotics before going to the dentist for teeth cleaning or other dental procedures, to prevent serious heart infections. Ask the cardiologist if this is necessary.
The outcome of heart surgery depends on the child's condition, the type of defect, and the type of surgery that was done. Many children recover completely and lead normal, active lives.
Recommendations for preparing children and adolescents for invasive cardiac procedures: A statement from the American Heart Association Pediatric Nursing Subcommittee of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing in collaboration with the Council on Cardiovascular Diseases of the Young. Circulation. 2003;108:2250-2564.
Webb GD, Smallhorn JF, Therrien J, Redington AN. Congenital heart disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 8th ed. St. Louis, Mo; WB Saunders; 2007:chap 61.
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