Approximatley 40,000 children are born with heart disease each year. There are two types of heart disease in children – congenital and acquired.
Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease is present at birth, which includes defects such as:
- Patent ductus arteriosus – abnormal blood flow in the heart
- Septal defects – holes in heart
- Coarctation of the aorta – narrowing of the aorta, a major heart artery
Because some heart disease is present at birth, it's important for pregnant women to have regular visits with their obstetrician and undergo prenatal testing.
Virtua's maternal-fetal medicine specialists have the technology available to diagnose children's heart disease including:
- Primary and high-resolution ultrasound
- Genetic testing and counseling
If heart disease is detected, Virtua's Perinatal Assessment Team, comprised of professionals from Virtua and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), provide expectant mothers with:
- Newborn treatment plan
- Expected prognosis
- Psychological support
If the baby needs specialized care during the pregnancy, mothers are connected with Virtua's pediatric cardiologists and other specialists.
Acquired heart disease
Acquired heart disease, which develops sometime during childhood, includes:
- Kawasaki disease
- Rheumatic fever
- Infective endocarditis – inflammation of the heart
Virtua partners with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to provide pediatric cardiologists to South Jersey's children at Virtua Memorial and Virtua Voorhees hospitals. Cardiologists provide evaluations and services to expectant mothers, infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.
Virtua's cardiologists provide a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for infants, children, and teenagers with from the common to the extremely complex heart problems.
If care requires a hospital stay, Virtua has newborn and pediatric intensive care units at Virtua Voorhees.
Virtua also provides support services including:
- A medically based weight-management program for ages 8 to 17.
- Child life specialists who help children and their families manage illnesses.