We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Involved in Pediatric Heart Surgery?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In pediatric heart surgery, a surgeon will repair damage or defects in a child's heart to address health problems associated with structural abnormalities, disease, and other issues. This procedure may occur shortly after birth in the case of children with birth defects, or could take place later in childhood for children with acquired heart injuries or mild congenital problems that become worse. Patients may spend several days or weeks in the hospital after surgery, depending on their overall health and the reason for the surgery.

The first step in pediatric heart surgery is an evaluation of the patient. The surgeon will use medical imaging and other tools to assess heart function and learn as much as possible about the condition of the heart. Doctors can also order bloodwork to check for risks that might complicate the surgery, and they will collect a detailed history on the patient and her parents. Surgeons incorporate this information into a plan for the procedure with the goal of completing the surgery quickly and safely.

On the day of the pediatric heart surgery, the child needs to fast to reduce risks from anesthesia. An anesthesiologist will induce anesthesia and monitor the patient during the procedure for signs of distress. For open heart surgery, the surgeon opens up the sternum. In a less invasive procedure called a thoracotomy, the surgeon goes in through the ribs, using cameras to visualize the surgical site. Next, cardiac bypass begins, with a machine taking over for the child's heart to allow the surgeon to operate on the heart and surrounding structures while the heart is still and mostly bloodless. In some procedures, the heart may be left beating.

After the surgeon is satisfied with the repair and the patient's heart is beating successfully, the team closes the surgical site and moves the child into recovery. During recovery from pediatric heart surgery, patients usually need to be active to reduce the risk of blood clots, and they need to do regular breathing exercises to develop lung strength and function in the wake of the surgery. Pain management is also a part of the aftercare plan, to make sure a child has adequate analgesia.

Parents often worry about pediatric heart surgery because it can sound frightening. Facilities offering this service rely on highly trained and very experienced specialists. Large surgical teams monitor patients throughout surgery and followups include detailed examinations and overviews of the patient's health to catch complications early. Parents can ask where surgeons trained and how long they have been practicing medicine. It may also be helpful to ask for statistics on patient outcomes with similar procedures.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.