A child being diagnosed with a pediatric heart condition brings worries and questions to parents. We are so thankful that our sponsor Dr. Steven Leonard from Rocky Mountain Pediatric Heart Surgery has taken the time to help us navigate this diagnosis.
This month is Heart Month, and recent studies show that congenital heart conditions affect about one in 100 children.
My job is to make sure children with heart conditions are getting the most thorough care possible to set them on their way to a healthy life. This is my passion; and one that has led me around the world providing cardiac care and surgery for children with organizations like the Honduran-based, Friends for Barnabas Foundation’s The Little Hearts Project.
While a congenital heart condition may only affect one in 100, this is a topic about which all parents should be educated. Here are some frequently asked questions on the topic and their answers.
“What causes a congenital heart condition?”
Parents are often concerned about something they may or may not have done during pregnancy to cause a heart condition. Anything from taking an over-the-counter medication when the mother was sick or not taking enough vitamins can worry parents, but it should not. I always reassure parents that action or inaction rarely causes the condition; in many cases the problem is genetic.
By exploring the source of the diagnosis with genetic counseling, which examines the genetics of both the baby and the parents, we can better determine risk for future children and how to approach next steps.
“What happens after diagnosis?”
If a child is diagnosed with a congenital heart condition, the Rocky Mountain Pediatric Heart Surgery team works together to help the family through the complexities that follow. From meeting with pediatric specialists to touring the operating room (if surgery is required) to familiarizing families with the Rocky Mountain region’s largest neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), we try to eliminate as many questions parents may have about the process long before the baby is born.
By the time the baby is born, our region-leading perinatologists (high-risk pregnancy experts), neonatologists and support staff make sure parents are informed about what will happen next by the mountain of preparation we have already gone through together.
“What does the future hold?”
Many parents immediately assume their child will need surgery if he or she is diagnosed with a heart defect. In reality, only about one percent of babies have heart defects, and not even all of that one percent will end up needing surgery. If a child does need to have cardiac surgery, you can be assured that expertly trained pediatric physicians and staff, using state-of-the-art technology, will work to offer parents peace of mind and the best opportunity for their child’s success.
The Rocky Mountain Pediatric Heart Surgery Approach
We provide a personalized care experience for each family with around-the-clock medical and emotional support, making sure to offer honest and compassionate information to parents along the way.
If a child diagnosed with a congenital heart condition, know that our medical team will consider every traditional or innovative option available, and that we will constantly work to give him or her a healthy, fulfilling life.
** This blog post was written to serve as guidance for congenital heart condition questions and should not be taken as concrete medical advice, nor do the views above reflect the views of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Heart Surgery or the HealthONE organization. As with any medical questions or concerns, it is imperative
** This blog post was written to serve as guidance for congenital heart condition questions and should not be taken as concrete medical advice, nor do the views above reflect the views of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Heart Surgery or the HealthONE organization. As with any medical questions or concerns, it is imperative to make an appointment with your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Steven Leonard, M.D. formed Rocky Mountain Pediatric Heart Surgery in 2009. He brings more over 28 years of experience in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, and has received numerous honors and awards, including “America’s Top Physicians,” “The Best Doctors in America: Central Region”, “Top Doctor” in 5280 Magazine and the prestigious First Humanitarian Award. He has also published articles and lectured frequently on topics related to pediatric cardiothoracic surgery.
Dr. Leonard enjoys spending time with his wife and their four children and playing the piano at his church.