Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pediatric Grand Rounds 1:22

Thanks to Hallmark and other card and candy companies February 14th has been turned into a manufactured holiday that is supposed to evoke feelings of love towards a romantic partner or feelings of depression when one does not have a romantic partner. The symbol of this holiday is the heart. It was only natural that when the Congenital Heart Defect community was looking for a way to increase awareness Valentine's Day was a natural fit.

Heart defects are near and dear to my heart because my eldest son Evan (who is not actually pictured in this post because of a recent reluctance to have his picture taken) was born with a very complex heart defect which requires a series of three surgeries so that he could live a fairly normal life. Previous to his birth I was not even aware of the prevalence of heart defects. The media hypes up the rarer birth defects but is not so enamored of the more common yet still fascinating heart defects.

According to the American Heart Association %1 of all children born have a heart defect of some kind. They are the most common type birth defects but are sometimes not detected until it is too late. There are a variety of factors that can result in a heart defect and they happen long before a woman even knows that she is pregnant since the heart is one of the first organs to form. There is often no strong genetic tie to many heart defects but many genetic syndromes such as Down's syndrome include the possibility of a heart defect occurring. Sandy Szwarc at Junkfood Science gives a great account of some of the myths that surround birth defects. Take heart parents! Often they do not happen because of something that you did or did not do while pregnant.

In his latest addition to The Not So Normal Newborn Nursery Clark Bartram discusses a heart defect that has a much clearer cause. He is looking for a heartbeat.

In ancient times the heart was seen the place where thinking and feeling took place. The brain was seen as filler to keep your head from caving in. We still use references in modern times that hint that we still see the heart as the place where feelings happen which is how Valentine's day became associated with hearts.

My own submission helps others know that when talking with a parent in the midst of a child's health crisis often all that is needed is A Kind Heart and listening ears, no guilt required.

Pediatric Grand Rounds is getting a bit of link love over in India. Dr Sidharth Sethi at submits this link to an article written by him for a pediatrics publication in India. It is good to know the word is getting out about great medical blogging going on.

Student Nurse Jack talks about following her heart in Bull. Shit. by not allowing her daughter to be a guinea pig for a new vaccine. Her reasons are very well thought out and may give other parents of girls something important to think about.

VitaminKMD listens to her heart which is telling her that there is something not quite right with her adorable little patient in Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Her heart hurts when she later discovers that she was right but that the child was sick with a life-threatening illness.

Kim from Emergiblog recounts a heart stopping moment she had as a parent in Call 911, He's Dead! The love she had for her son temporarily overwhelmed her abilities as a seasoned nurse.

Does the American Academy of Pediatrics love their little patients more than market share? Flea explores the issue in Because We Care... About Market Share.

The NICU is filled with broken hearts (both figuratively and literally). Neonatal Doc shares the heartbreaking story of some of the ups and downs that can happen with premature babies in Bungee.

Some parents think that they are showing love for their children by filling their schedules with many different enriching activities which are supposed to keep them from the alternative which could be sitting around and watching tv all afternoon. They carefully monitor their child's diet. Shinga points out in The Duvet Diet that a good night's sleep might do more towards children's health than many other medical or dietetic interventions.

Vahid Chaychi discusses the long road of childhood cancer and some of the heartbreaking moments that can happen during treatment in Detecting Cancer in Children and After. It is a great guide for parents that may have just had a child diagnosed with cancer.

That concludes this edition of pediatric Grand Rounds. It sure was a fun challenge putting this together. A big thank you goes out to all the participants. I would like to give thanks to Shinga for her help with this edition of Pediatric Grand Rounds. The next edition of PGR will be hosted by Dr. Lourdes de Asis at Allergy and Asthma Source. Clark is looking for more hosts of Pediatric Grand Rounds. The schedule can be found here.

Here are a few links about heart defects that I have discovered in my online wandering. Enjoy!

  • This is a website about the first operation done on babies to help relieve some of the effects of the cyanotic heart defects.
  • CHIN is a great place for parents and health care professionals to get information, support and education about heart defects.
  • The American Heart Association while often associated with adult acquired heart disease also has a wonderful section for children with heart defects.
  • Another link that gives a brief history of heart surgery.


Shinga said...

Nicely done and woven together.

Regards - Shinga

Kristi said...

I love this post...very appropriate. And educational.

I hope you and yours have a great Valentine's week.

PS - I like the pink.

chelle said...

I really enjoyed reading your post this morning. I was unaware of a lot of the facts you shared ... thanks for being so open and honest :) Hugs!

Vicky said...

A "heartfelt" thanks for this PGR! I have enjoyed reading all the contributions as usual, and as usual it has given me a lot to think about.

I do like very much that both professionals and parents get in on this - both sides of the coin are very valid indeed when considering our childrens' health.

Thanks Awesome Mom - awesome as ever.

Kim said...

Beautiful job, and it's been awhile since I've had a chance to visit, I like the template!!!!!! Link is up on Emergiblog.

Dr. de Asis said...

Thanks for the plug for the next PGR, I hope I get as many good posts or else I'll have to pull a "Shinga" and do some blog-pirating. Happy Valentine's Day and Happy American Heart Month!

you da mom! said...

Touching post, Awesome Mom. Good health is so often taken for granted. Like now, when my dearest boy is ill and I think, "Why can't he just go back to normal!?!?" I miss my healthy, smiling son! Evan is a lucky boy to have such a caring and compassionate mother! Happy Valentine's Day to you all. P.S. Love the new layout!

neonataldoc said...

Thank you. Nice job.

Anne/kq said...

I meant to write about my cousin's son and his VATERS association-- including his transposition of the great vessels-- for this, but I've been having my own little health crisis and didn't get to it. Excellent reading, nonetheless. :) Thanks!

Magpie said...

Great roundup - thanks!

HCN said...

When my oldest son was 14 our family doctor detected a heart murmur that he had not heard before. After some tests my son was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with obstruction.

Apparently (and this is just an educated guess) something happened during puberty to cause abnormal growth of the heart muscles, and is is possibly genetic. We were fortunate to catch it with an echocardiogram because it is mostly found after "sudden cardiac death" (it is one of the most common reason for teenage athletes to die... along with a few other cardiac disorders like Long-QT Syndrome).

More information here: