For many people, visiting a pediatric cardiologist can be quite a nerve-racking experience! While we at Pediatric Heart Specialists take pride in making your experience as comfortable as possible, it is natural that any diagnosis given to your child, simple or complex, can cause concern and even confusion. For example, it’s quite common that many questions may arise when your physician tells you that your child has a normal “hole” in the heart. A hole? Normal?? What exactly are we talking about???

Youth involvement in athletics can be rewarding and exciting. Cardiac screening guidelines are in place to keep kids safe while they are participating in sports. In the state of Texas these guidelines are governed for public schools by the UIL (University Interscholastic League). The purpose of these guidelines is to “identify through routine and systematic evaluation those individuals with clinically relevant cardiovascular abnormalities at risk for sudden cardiac death pursuant to appropriate guidance and treatment that will mitigate that risk”.

What is an enlarged heart? This is a question that comes up fairly often. Not infrequently a child is referred because a chest x-ray demonstrates an "enlarged heart". Likewise, I often hear from parents who tell me that they had a relative who was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. So what exactly does this mean?

Congenital heart disease occurs in a little less than 1 out of 100 (1%) liveborn children. This number includes all types of heart defects, from small abnormalities that require no intervention to major defects that are life threatening and may require several open heart surgeries. The risk of recurrence in siblings depends on the particular defect and the mode of inheritance involved.

It is quite an exciting time in the world of pediatric cardiology. There are very few areas of medicine (or even science, for that matter) that are evolving and advancing as fast as that relating to congenital heart disease. There are many families that are dealing with a recent or upcoming cardiac surgery with their young child. But what does the future hold for these children? Current and future advancements now clearly show that this future is bright indeed!

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