Congestive heart failure
The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis. If your child’s doctor suspects that your child has heart failure, we will ask you questions about your child's appetite, breathing patterns and energy level, obtain a complete medical history and examine your child. Your doctor may order a chest x-ray to see how large the heart appears.
Some tests your child’s cardiologist may request include:
- Echocardiogram (echo), which uses sound waves to produce a video of the heart's chambers and valves in motion. The echo sound waves create an image on the monitor as an ultrasound transducer is directed at your child’s heart. Read more about echocardiograms.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which records the electrical activity of your child’s heart, shows abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias) and may suggest problems with the heart muscle. Learn more about this test.
- blood tests to check for viruses, metabolic and genetic tests, if indicated, to help determine what caused the heart failure. We also often conduct liver and kidney function tests to see if those organs are affected by heart failure.
- treadmill or bicycle exercise tests can test heart function during exercise stress, if your child is old enough for the test (6 years or older)
- biopsies– to check for disease or infection
After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment options.