If the development of the heart is disrupted for some reason during the fetal period, the structure of the heart may remain defective. There are many kinds of congenital cardiac diseases; abnormal openings may remain in the heart, stenosis may form or complex structural defects may develop. In complex defects, the child may be missing one of the heart ventricles or a heart valve entirely.
In addition to congenital cardiac defects, a child or adolescent can develop a heart condition as a consequence of myocarditis, for example.
In Finland, examination and treatment of the most severe pediatric cardiac defects is centralized at the HUCH Children’s Hospital. Pediatric cardiac defects are repaired by both catheterization and surgery.
This field specializes in the diagnostics, treatment and monitoring of pediatric cardiac defects and cardiac diseases. Examples of our other services:
- Catheterization (e.g. closing an atrial septal defect, balloon dilation of stenotic valves, etc.)
- Cardiac arrhythmia treatment via catheter
- Fetal cardiac examinations
Pediatric Cardiac Surgery
In Finland, pediatric open heart surgery is centralized at the HUCH Children’s Hospital, where some 330 cardiac operations are performed annually, 240 of which are open heart surgeries. Approximately two-thirds of pediatric cardiac surgeries are performed on babies under the age of one. Of these, less than half are under one month old. Currently, all pediatric cardiac defects fall within the sphere of surgical treatment.
In the last three years, the operative mortality rate of pediatric open heart surgery in Finland has averaged 1.8 percent. By international standards, this is a state-of-the-art outcome. For example, the operative mortality rate in Europe as a whole was 3.7 percent during the corresponding period. The challenging nature of cardiac surgery is illustrated by the fact that a child’s heart and fist are roughly the same size.
One of the most challenging cardiac surgeries is the double switch procedure which is performed on children whose heart ventricles and great arteries have congenitally switched location. Other highly demanding surgeries include certain pulmonary artery defect operations and complex single ventricle heart surgeries.
We also provide other treatments associated with the pediatric cardiac diseases. More information is available at our Customer Service.