How Lurie Children’s Diagnoses & Treats Heart Failure
We first seek to understand your child’s symptoms and how they show up in daily life. We do a complete physical exam and take a history of symptoms and a family history.
We may then do tests to get a closer look at the heart and how it’s functioning.
These include echocardiograms or electrocardiograms, as well as more advanced imaging like cardiac computed tomography (CT) or cardiac MRI. We may do an exercise stress test or have a child wear a Holter monitor to look at their heart rhythm. We may also use cardiac catheterization, which requires anesthesia.
These tests can help find the underlying cause of the heart failure, which may tell us how to treat it. If it’s a leaky valve, for example, we can repair the valve with heart surgery.
We always start with the least invasive treatment and add options as we need. Medication is the most common treatment for heart failure. Some children may need continuous medication while staying in our Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit for a time.
For children who need mechanical support, we offer ventricular assist devices. We have a dedicated team who specializes in the care of children who need more advanced heart support. For certain children who have severe heart failure, a heart transplant is the treatment.
Whatever the treatment, we partner with the patient and family. We’ll make sure your family understands what’s happening each step of the way.