If your child needs advanced heart care, it can be a stressful time for the whole family. At Pediatric Heart Specialists (PHS), our heart experts are here to guide you every step of the way.
Our pediatric cardiologists and their teams offer complete nonsurgical care for children of all ages with any heart condition. If your child needs a more advanced procedure or surgery, we coordinate their care with heart specialists at Children’s Health in Dallas.
Our pediatric cardiologists diagnose and treat all kinds of heart diseases in children, including the most complex, critical congenital (present at birth) heart conditions. We provide ongoing care to manage your child’s heart health with tests and services in our offices at PHS.
For some heart conditions, children may need a diagnostic procedure or treatment that goes beyond our in-office care. In these cases, we refer your child to the heart surgeons, interventional cardiologists and cardiac imaging specialists at The Heart Center at Children’s Health. That means your child can quickly get the best possible care with pediatric heart experts right here in Dallas.
We refer your child to heart specialists at Children’s Health if they need a diagnostic test or treatment that we cannot provide in our PHS offices. These procedures include:
When we refer your child to The Heart Center at Children’s Health, we:
The hospital care team will provide details about what you need to do before, during and after your child’s heart procedure. In general, the steps of the process will include:
At the pre-procedure visits, the care team will talk with you about:
You may want to bring a binder or notebook and pen or pencil to write your questions in advance for the care team and then keep track of their instructions.
The hospital care team will talk with you about what you need to do on the day of the procedure, how long to plan to be at the hospital and other key information. It’s a good idea to bring note-taking materials to keep track of the details.
At Children’s Health, child life specialists can meet with your child during the pre-procedure appointment or on the day of the procedure. These specialists help your child feel comfortable going into the procedure by explaining medical information and providing reassurance.
Items that you might want to bring for your child and yourself include:
For children and teens:
Your child will be able to go home the same day after most tests and minimally invasive procedures (though surgery might require a hospital stay). The hospital care team will help you prepare to take care of your child at home afterward. In general, you can expect to:
If your child needs to stay overnight after a heart procedure or surgery, the care team will take them to a hospital room. Most often, the hospital care team encourages parents to stay with their children. Please review the current visiting hours and policies at Children’s Health, or check with the care team.
Some additional items that you may want to bring for your child include:
Your child will typically see the Children’s Health doctor or surgeon for their first follow-up visit after a minimally invasive procedure or heart surgery. Your child will return to our PHS cardiologists for their ongoing follow-up care. We will see your child in our offices for regular checkups. Your child may occasionally need follow-up tests to monitor how well their heart is working after their procedure. These tests may include:
We have some suggestions to help you prepare your child for a procedure at the hospital:
Depending on the type of procedure your child has had, they might have some restrictions on exercise and other activities. The hospital care team and our pediatric cardiologists will provide specific instructions for your child. Here are our general recommendations if your child had:
Social workers from Children’s Health are available to advocate for your family’s values and concerns. They help the care team understand your family’s needs and coping strategies. Together with your social worker, you can create a plan for navigating these challenges.
You and our medical experts are one team, helping your child on the journey to healing. That’s why we encourage you to participate in your child’s care through open communication with your child’s care team.
Every person who assists in your child’s care will announce who they are and what they do. We want you to feel comfortable interacting with your child’s care team so you can advocate for your child’s needs and understand their care plan.
You can share, with the bedside nurse, what daily activities you would like to do with your child, such as diaper changes or feedings. If you have questions or concerns or need to provide additional information, please share them with your child’s provider or nurse.
Yes, we can work with school nurses and other staff to explain your child’s medications. We can review the dosages and when to administer the medications to make sure your child excels in school while getting their medications as needed.
Mended Little Hearts is a support program for parents of children with congenital heart conditions and other heart diseases. The program is dedicated to inspiring hope in those who care for the littlest heart patients of all. Mended Little Hearts offers resources and a caring support network as families find answers and move forward to find healing and hope.
As a chapter of the national organization, Mended Little Hearts of Dallas provides support to heart families in Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding areas. The Dallas chapter offers resources, peer-to-peer support, monthly gatherings, hospital visits, Bravery Bags and other activities.
Conquering Congenital Heart Disease supporting the comprehensive, lifelong needs of children with congenital heart disease and their families, providing knowledge, hope and a voice. The organization supports awareness, knowledge, community and research programming. Local activities include online chat networks, in-person peer support, social events, individualized care packages, physician education, and research promotion and participation.
Social workers at The Heart Center at Children’s Health offer an in-person support group meeting every week for all inpatient heart families. Please check with the social workers for details and recommendations for other resources.