A member asked:

What is open heart surgery like for an infant or a toddler?

8 doctors weighed in across 3 answers
Dr. Louis Grenzer answered

Specializes in Cardiology

Rough: Well surgery on a small child is technically challenging to the surgeon. It would ordinarily take several hours and the recovery several weeks or even months. That said, children and infants have a great ability to recuperate even from major surgery.

Answered 9/28/2016

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Dr. Johanna Fricke answered

Specializes in Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral

If 9 mos or >: Parents can tour cardiac picu/ward pre-op & meet support staff, including play therapists. At 9 mos. Developmental age & up, a child has " affect matching, " becoming more upset during painful procedures if parents look upset. Also, having implicit memory means a child can develop ptsd. Modify behavioral regression by maintaining discipline & routine. Bring familiar hard, washable toys & books.

Answered 9/28/2016

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Dr. Sarosh Batlivala answered

Specializes in Pediatric Cardiology

Depends: This depends on the heart lesion. Many forms of heart disease are now treated successfully with surgery. In those cases, the open heart surgery is very well tolerated with the child being home in 1-2 weeks and recovering well. If the heart lesion is very complicated, then the experience can be different. Please discuss this with your child's cardiologist to learn their specific issues.

Answered 5/8/2014

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