Cardiac treatments

Cardiac staff on Ward 12 We examine and treat heart disease in children through a variety of methods.

One way of doing this is to insert a fine tube (a catheter) into the blood vessels around the heart. The catheter can then be used to either measure the pressure in the blood vessel or to inject a dye which can then be seen using X-ray, allowing us to work out what is going wrong, or it can be used to treat the heart disease directly.

Some types of heart disease need an operation. We do around 600 heart operations every year making us one of the busiest centres for treating heart disease in children in the UK.

Around half of the operations we do are in children under the age of one.

We diagnose and treat all types of congenital heart disease in children from newborn babies to 16 years old.

We can often find out what is wrong before or just after a baby is born, which allows us to start the best treatment right away for many conditions, including complex surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome. We also treat cardiac arrhythmias using catheter techniques.

Specialised treatments

Our most specialised treatments include:

  • Transoesophageal echocardiography (scan of the heart through the oesophagus (gullet))
  • The Norwood/Damus palliation for children with just one side of their heart working properly (single ventricle physiology)
  • The double switch operation for when the heart has developed in the wrong position in the womb (congenitally corrected transposition)
  • Operating on the large blood vessels connecting the heart and the lungs (unifocalisation of pulmonary vessels) in patients with abnormally narrow pulmonary blood vessels (pulmonary atresia)
  • Operating for large 'holes in the heart' (ventricular septal defect) and where additional, abnormal pulmonary blood vessels have developed (lung collaterals).

As a specialist centre for children with heart conditions, we look after children from across Birmingham, the UK and even Europe.