Who is a Pediatric Cardiologist?

If your pediatrician has a question about your child’s heart, he or she may refer your child to a pediatric cardiologist. Pediatric cardiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating heart problems in children. In those children who might need heart surgery, pediatric cardiologists work closely with surgeons to determine the best treatments and interventions.

A number of heart conditions can affect children. Some are structural differences they are born with. Others involve the electrical system that controls the heartbeat. Pediatric cardiologists are specially trained to diagnose and manage these problems. If you have a concern about your child’s heart, please discuss with your pediatrician whether referral to a pediatric cardiologist is needed.

What types of treatment do pediatric cardiologists provide?

Pediatric cardiologists diagnose, treat, and manage heart problems in children, including

  • “Congenital heart disease” (heart differences children are born with), such as holes between chambers of the heart, valve problems, and abnormal blood vessels
  • “Arrhythmias”, or abnormal heart rhythms caused by the electrical system that controls the heart beat

Some pediatric cardiologists also treat “pulmonary hypertension” (high blood pressure in the lungs), but in some regions of the country, pulmonary hypertension is treated by pediatric pulmonologists (lung specialists).

Some pediatric cardiologists may treat “systemic hypertension” (high blood pressure in the body), but in some regions of the country, systemic hypertension is treated by pediatric nephrologists (kidney specialists).

Pediatric Cardiologists – the best care for Children

Children are not just small adults. The kinds of heart problems children have are very different from adults. For example, children are more likely to be diagnosed with a heart difference that they were born with, but heart attacks in children are very rare. Pediatric cardiologists are specifically trained to look for heart problems that affect children.

Pediatric cardiologists work closely with primary care pediatricians to provide coordinated and comprehensive care. Because heart problems can sometimes be complex and come with other difficulties for children, pediatric cardiologists also often work in teams with other health care providers. These include pediatric heart surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, neonatologists, cardiac pediatric intensivists, pediatric radiologists, as well as pediatric nurses, nutritionists, and speech, occupational, and physical therapists. These teams have extensive training and expertise in the special needs of children with heart problems and are particularly attuned to their needs.

Pediatric cardiologists have extensive training and expertise in dealing with children and in treating children with heart problems. If your pediatrician suggests that your child see a pediatric cardiologist, you can be assured that your child will receive the best possible care.