This section and provides links to heart murmurs, common and benign heart  defects, palpitations and guidelines from preventing subacute bacterial endocarditis.  there are also links to resources about complex congenital heart problems and parent support groups.  

Heart murmurs

Innocent or Benign Murmurs

A heart murmur is a sound that is heard by a doctor when they listen to the heart with a stethoscope. An innocent murmur is often detected during a routine examination and results from the sound produced by turbulence of normal blood flow through the heart. A paediatrician is usually able to determine whether any further tests are required. Innocent or benign murmurs are often much louder during an illnesses associated with high fever and as the heart pumps the blood harder resulting in the murmur sounding louder than usual. The doctor will often request a repeat examination to reassess the murmur when the child is well.

Find out more...


Ventricular Septal Defect

A ventricular septal defect or VSD is a common congenital heart defect. It is a hole between the right and left pumping chambers of the heart. The size and the location of the VSD determines if a child will develop any problems in the future. Many small VSD's close spontaneously within the first six months of life. However larger VSD's may be associated with problems that are often not apparent in the first one to 2 weeks but developed over ensuring for weeks. This page contains links to excellent resources that explain VSD's in more detail.

Find out more...


Atrial Septal Defect or ASD

Atrial septal defects or ASD is a common congenital heart problem in children. The commonest form is called secundum ASD and is a defect or hole in the central part of the wall (septum) separating the two upper pumping chambers (atria) of the heart. Many ASD's will close in the first 18 months however if they persist beyond the age of three years it is unlikely that they will close spontaneously. Although most children do not have any significant symptoms there are significant risks later in life and closure is desirable unless the defect is very small. Various techniques including an expanding device (which is inserted through a heart catheter) or closure by open heart surgery are used to treat a persisting ASD. 

Find out more...

Bacterial endocarditis antbiotics

Bacterial endocarditis: Antibiotic prophylaxis (prevention)

Bacterial Endocarditis is an infection of the lining of the heart.Although he had occurred in anybody infants children or adults with heart disease are at much greater risk. Certain procedures for example the dental and other medical procedures can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause infection particularly in persons with congenital heart disease where they may have a roughened area on the heart lining. Guidelines have been developed for the prevention of bacterial endocarditis and antibiotics are given to those who are considered at high risk. You should consult your paediatrician or paediatric cardiologist he would advise you if antibiotics are necessary before any procedures. This is known as antibiotic prophylaxis.

Find out more...

Complex heart conditions

Complex congenital heart disease

Heart disease develops before birth is known as congenital heart disease. They are broadly divided into two groups cyanotic (baby is blue) and acyanotic (baby is not blue) congenital heart disease. There are many different heart conditions, ranging from mild to serious and those with major heart disease often require surgical intervention the first year of life. A routine 20 week fetal anomaly scan may detect a significant complex congenital heart problem and will allow for optimal planning of delivery and medical intervention in a centre that specialises in paediatric cardiology and paediatric cardiac surgery.

Find out more...


Useful resources and links to other heart topics

It would be impossible to cover every aspect of heart problems or  paediatric cardiology. We selected up to 6-8 of the commonest issues to explore in more detail, based on what we know most families often need more information about and written in a way that you understand. Everyday we discover more and more on line. This section provides links to those sites that we consider offer balanced, reliable and up to date information and will grow as we find more. The search function should direct you to a topic readily to so you can quickly tell if we have it covered. When you want to know… we want to be the first place you look.


Find out more...