Pediatric cardiology is a medical specialty dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease in children of all age groups - congenital heart defects (CHD), dysrhythmia and conduction disorders, myocardial and pericardial diseases, etc.
Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common (0.8-1.2%) structural abnormalities in the newborn. Approximately half of those are severe i.e. they are lethal or require surgery after birth.
Usually CHDs occur spontaneously but they can be caused by a genetic syndrome, teratogen exposure, infections, etc.
Women at high risk for giving birth to a child with a CHD are those with positive family history (first degree relative with a CHD, i.e. parents or siblings), insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus of the mother, etc.
However, in about 90% of cases there is no previously known risk factors.
The pediatric cardiologists play a very important role in the prenatal diagnosis of CHD. Whenever a cardiac defect or fetal arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) is detected or suspected prenatally, the pediatric cardiologists are essential for precising the diagnosis and discussing the prognosis and treatment options and generally take part in the management of the pregnancy.
The indications for performing a specialized examination of the fetal heart by a pediatric cardiologist (fetal echocardiography) are:
- Increased fetal nuchal translucency in the first trimester;
- Suspicion or prenatal diagnosis of a cardiac abnormality during a previous fetal anatomy scan;
- Increased risk for CHD (diabetes mellitus or metabolic diseases of the mother, positive family history (first degree relative with a CHD, etc.);
- Prenatal diagnosis of genetic or chromosomal fetal abnormality;
- Prenatal diagnosis of extracardiac structural fetal anomaly (in other organs and systems);
- Teratogen exposure in pregnancy (anticonvulsant treatment, ACE inhibitors, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, etc.);
- Maternal obesity;
- In vitro fertilization;
- Multiple pregnancy (particularly monochorionic).
All children, suspected or diagnosed with a CHD are followed-up by a pediatric cardiologist after birth by means of a variety of modern methods for non-invasive diagnosis, conservative or interventional treatment. The prognosis and need for surgical treatment is thoroughly evaluated in each specific case.
The consultation with a pediatric cardiologist requires thorough patient history and reviewing available documents.
Subsequently, a meticulous clinical examination is performed - physical examination, auscultation, etc.
A specialized instrumental investigation is carried out if arrythmia, conduction disorder, valvular, myocardial or pericardial disease is present, i.e. echocardiography, electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitoring, etc.
By this means, the pediatric cardiologist can accurately evaluate the condition, the degree of its clinical manifestation, the prognosis and the need of subsequent treatment, i.e. medication or interventional/surgical treatment.
Examination by a pediatric cardiologist is also recommended in cases of infectious diseases in children such as COVID-19, scarlet fever, etc., as they are known to cause myocardial, endocardial and/or valvular damage.
Highly qualified and experienced healthcare professionals and experts in the field of pediatric cardiology work at MC MARKOVS. The quality and accuracy of the examination are guaranteed by the means of using modern high-tech medical equipment. The team of pediatric cardiologists at MC MARKOVS have all additional training in fetal echocardiography, a distinguishable qualificaiton not all the pediatric cardiologists in Bulgaria have.
For more information regarding the possibilities of having a pediatric cardiology examination at MC MARKOVS, please contact your doctor or call at the registration desk.