Ensuring the Health and Well-Being of Children

We take matters of your child’s heart very seriously. Our pediatric cardiologists thoroughly assess our patients’ overall health, cardiac problems and other factors before recommending the most appropriate treatment. Our multidisciplinary child heart care team includes:

  • Neonatologists
  • Nephrologists
  • Pediatric cardiologists
  • Pediatric cardiovascular anesthesiologists
  • Pediatric intensive care unit nurse practitioners and registered nurses
  • Pediatric intensivists
  • Pediatric interventional cardiologists
  • Perinatal specialists
  • Other medical specialists

The proper treatment can improve your child’s quality of life, often without major surgery or extended hospital stays.

Why Would a Child Need To See a Cardiologist?

Make an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist if your child experiences palpitations, chest pains, fainting spells during physical activity or has a family history of heart disease. If your child is diagnosed with a heart problem, you can trust Palm Beach Children’s Hospital for excellent heart care for children. We’ve received recognition from the American Heart Association for stroke and heart failure services.

A mother pregnant at 20 weeks usually gets a cardiac screening check-up for her unborn child to ensure the large structures of the heart have formed correctly. If the mother’s physician notices anything unusual, the mother is referred to a pediatric cardiologist to confirm the baby’s condition further.

How Is Pediatric Cardiology Different From Adult Cardiology?

Children require different types of treatment from adults as their organs haven’t yet fully developed. Also, children usually have different psychology from grownups, so they need a healthcare specialist who can communicate with them and with whom they can feel comfortable.

Although general cardiologists may check on children, pediatric cardiologists are specifically trained to diagnose and treat heart conditions in children. A pediatric cardiologist in West Palm Beach will work with your child’s primary physician to determine the appropriate treatment. However, pediatric cardiologists do not perform surgery. If your child needs surgery, they will need to see a heart surgeon.

Pediatric cardiologists are specifically trained to treat children with heart conditions, such as:

  • Pulmonary valve disease
  • Congenital heart disorders
  • Heart defects
  • Heart diseases
  • Arrhythmias

If the doctor suspects your child may have a heart defect, the next step is to visit a pediatric cardiologist. Our cardiologists can diagnose heart problems with a few easy, noninvasive tests, which may include:

  • Electrocardiography (ECG/EKG)
  • Exercise testing
  • Tilt-table testing
  • Echocardiography

Depending on the results of these tests, your child may need surgical or nonsurgical treatments.

What Is an Echocardiogram?

An echocardiogram is a painless test showing a graphic outline of the heart’s movement using high-frequency sound waves. If a child experiences irregular heartbeat, leg swelling, unexplained chest pain or shortness of breath, the doctor may recommend an echocardiogram to determine if heart problems cause their symptoms. A pediatric cardiologist can use echocardiogram test images to:

  • Check any signs of heart enlargement
  • Evaluate the shape and size of the heart chambers
  • Find cardiac tumors or blood clots
  • Find heart muscles that are not pumping properly
  • Identify fluid around the heart
  • Locate defects in cardiac structure
  • Measure the heart walls’ thickness
  • See if heart valves do not open or close normally

Depending on what the doctor needs to learn about the child’s heart, they may perform any one of these types of echocardiograms:

  • Transthoracic echocardiogram – the most common type of test, a transthoracic echocardiogram procedure involves spreading gel on the chest and then passing a transducer, an ultrasound-beam releasing device, over the skin. Ultrasound waves bounce off the heart structures and transmit signals to a video monitor to produce pictures.

  • Transesophageal echocardiogram – may be done if the doctor cannot get a clear picture from the transthoracic echocardiogram. In a transesophageal echocardiogram, the doctor attaches a transducer to the end of a flexible tube and guides it down the child’s throat towards the esophagus.

  • Doppler echocardiogram – this procedure is used mostly at transesophageal and transthoracic echocardiograms to measure the direction and speed of blood flow in the heart. A Doppler echocardiogram procedure captures images through the sound waves that bounce off blood cells moving through the heart and blood vessels.

  • Stress echocardiogram – involves recording the child’s heart activity before and immediately after exercise to diagnose specific heart problems that occur only during physical activity. If the child cannot exercise, medicine can be given to make their heartbeat fast.

An echocardiogram usually takes less than an hour and can be performed in a hospital or doctor's office.

Why Would a Child Need an Electrocardiography?

An electrocardiography (EKG) aims to evaluate the signs and symptoms of heart problems. If your child reports that their heart has been racing, fluttering or pounding, their doctor may order an EKG. EKG may uncover heart problems such as:

  • Congenital disabilities
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Heart attack
  • Heart enlargement
  • Heart not beating forcefully enough
  • Heart valve diseases
  • Reduced blood flow to the heart muscle

The EKG can also indicate heart events that have happened in the past, such as a previous heart attack.

How Do You Administer an EKG to a Child?

An EKG technician attaches 12 sticky wired patches to a child’s chest and limbs. The wires will feed information into the EKG machine. Your child must lie on a table while the EKG records the heart's electrical activity. The entire test may take up to 10 minutes. Your child’s physician will review the EKG results.



When it comes to your child’s heart health, expect excellent care from us. We offer a range of specialized diagnostic services and procedures that may address your child’s condition so they can return to being active and happy.

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