Health Information

Cardiovascular Disorders

  • About the Heart and Blood Vessels

    Detailed anatomical description of the heart's blood vessels, including simple definitions and a labeled, full-color illustration

  • Anatomy and Function of the Electrical System

    Detailed anatomical description of the heart's electrical system, including simple definitions and a labeled, full-color illustration

  • Arrhythmias in Children

    An arrhythmia is an abnormal rhythm of the heart. In an arrhythmia, abnormal electrical signals through the heart muscle may cause the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly.

  • Aortic Stenosis in Children

    Aortic stenosis means that your child has a heart valve that is too narrow or is blocked.  The aortic valve is 1 of 4 heart valves that keep blood flowing through the heart. The valves make sure blood flows in only one direction. The aortic valve keeps blood flowing from the left ventricle to the aorta.

  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

    The atrial septum is the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart (right and left atria). An atrial septal defect (ASD) is an abnormal hole in this wall. ASD is a heart problem that is present at birth (congenital).

  • Atrioventricular (AV) Canal

    An atrioventricular (AV) canal defect is a congenital heart defect. This means that your child is born with it. These defects may range from partial to complete. These conditions cause oxygen-rich (red) blood and oxygen-poor (blue) blood to mix. This sends extra blood to the child's lungs. 

  • Bacterial Endocarditis in Children

    Bacterial endocarditis is an infection of the lining of the heart (endocardium), and the heart valves. It does not happen very often, but when it does, it can cause serious heart damage.

  • Blood Tests and Your Child's Heart

    Detailed information on blood tests used to diagnosis heart disease

  • Coarctation of the Aorta

    Coarctation of the aorta is a heart defect that is present at birth (congenital). It means the aorta is narrower than it should be.

  • Problems Affecting the Coronary Arteries and Blood Vessels

    Detailed information on problems affecting the coronary arteries and blood vessels of children

  • Cardiac Catheterization in Children

    Cardiac catheterization is a procedure in which a long, flexible tube (catheter) is put into a blood vessel. The doctor then guides the catheter into the heart to find and treat heart problems.

  • Congenital Heart Disease Index

    Detailed information on congenital heart disease, including patent ductus arteriosus, atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, atrioventricular canal, tricuspid atresia, pulmonary atresia, transposition of the great arteries, tetralogy of Fallot, double outlet right ventricle, truncus arteriosus, coarctation of the aorta, aortic stenosis, and hypoplastic left heart syndrome

  • Heart Failure in Children

    Heart failure is when the heart can't pump enough blood to the body. In children, it is often caused by a congenital heart defect.

  • Complex Heart Problems

    Detailed information on complex heart problems

  • Cardiomyopathy and Your Child

    Cardiomyopathy is any disease of the heart muscle in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively.

  • CT (Computed Tomography) Scan

    Detailed information on CT scan, including how the CT scan is performed and what happens after the procedure

  • Chest X-Ray and Children

    Detailed information on chest x-rays, including reasons for the procedure

  • Diagnosing and Evaluating Heart Disease in Children

    Detailed information on diagnosing and evaluating heart disease in children

  • Echocardiography in Children

    Echocardiography is an imaging test. It uses sound waves to make detailed pictures of the heart.

  • Emotional and Family Issues in Children with Heart Disease

    A child's emotions can be affected by the way his/her family members cope with the illness, as well as other issues including the stress felt by the family.

  • Electrocardiography in Children

    Electrocardiography (ECG) is a simple, fast test to check the electrical activity of your child's heart as blood moves through it.

  • Exercise Electrocardiogram (ECG) Testing in Children

    Electrocardiography (ECG) is a simple, fast test to check the electrical activity of your child's heart as blood moves through it. Abnormal ECG results may mean there is a problem with your child's heart.

  • Factors Contributing to Congenital Heart Disease

    In up to 90 percent of cases of congenital heart defect, the cause is thought to be a combination of genetics and environment.

  • Fetal Echocardiography

    Fetal echocardiography (echo) uses sound waves to check the heart of your developing baby.

  • Fetal Circulation

    Through the blood vessels in the umbilical cord, the fetus receives all the necessary nutrition, oxygen, and life support from the mother through the placenta.

  • Growth and Development in Children with Congenital Heart Disease

    Children with congenital heart disease often grow and develop more slowly than other children.

  • High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents

    Detailed information on high blood pressure, also called hypertension, including symptoms, diagnostic, and treatment information

  • Heart Defects Causing Too Much Blood Flow Through the Lungs

    Detailed information on heart defects that cause extra blood flow through the lungs

  • Heart-Healthy Eating

    Detailed information on heart healthy eating

  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

    Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a group of defects of the heart and large blood vessels. A child is born with this condition (congenital heart defect). It occurs when part of the heart doesn't develop as it should during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Holter Monitoring in Children

    Holter monitoring is a way to continuously check the electrical activity of the heart. Your child will wear a small device called a Holter monitor for at least 24 to 48 hours. The device constantly checks your child's heart during this time.

  • Home Page - Cardiovascular Disorders

    Detailed information on cardiovascular diseases in children

  • Kawasaki Disease

    Kawasaki disease causes inflamed blood vessels. It can weaken the walls of blood vessels, including the arteries of the heart. Kawasaki mostly affects infants and young children. It is uncommon in the U.S. But it is a main cause of heart disease in children in the U.S. and Japan.

  • Living With Congenital Heart Disease

    Detailed information for children living with a congenital heart disease

  • A Child Living with a Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)

    Detailed information on living with a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator

  • Marfan Syndrome in Children

    Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue. Connective tissue holds the body's cells, organs, and other tissue together. Connective tissue is also important in growth and development.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Children

    Detailed information on magnetic resonance imaging, including how the image is performed and what happens following the procedure

  • Heart Murmurs in Children

    Heart murmurs are extra or unusual sounds made by blood moving through the heart. Many children have heart murmurs. Some cause no problems or go away over time. Others require treatment.

  • Heart Defects Causing Obstructions to Blood Flow

    Detailed information on heart defects that cause obstructions in blood flow

  • Online Resources - Cardiovascular Disorders

    List of online resources to find additional information on cardiovascular disorders in children

  • Pulmonary Atresia

    Pulmonary atresia (PA) is a heart defect. It happens when the fetal heart doesn’t form as it should. This can happen during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Pacemaker and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Insertion in Children

    An artificial pacemaker is a small device placed in the body and connected to the heart with wires (leads).  It sends electrical signals to the heart to control a slow heartbeat. Sometimes a pacemaker may be used to control a fast heartbeat. The insertion of a pacemaker requires minor surgery.

  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

    Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a heart defect found in the days or weeks after birth. The ductus arteriosus is a normal part of fetal blood circulation. All babies are born with this opening between the aorta and the pulmonary artery. But it usually closes on its own shortly after birth. If it stays open, it is called patent ductus arteriosus.

  • Pericarditis in Children

    Pericarditis is inflammation or infection of the pericardium. In children, pericarditis is most likely to happen after surgery to repair heart defects.

  • Physical Exam for a Child with Congenital Heart Disease

    Detailed information on childhood physical examinations

  • Problems Involving Heart Rhythm

    Detailed information on problems involving heart rhythm

  • Pulmonary Stenosis in Children

    Pulmonary stenosis is a birth defect of the heart (congenital). It can happen when the pulmonary valve doesn’t develop as it should during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. The pulmonary valve connects the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery.

  • Rheumatic Heart Disease in Children

    Rheumatic heart disease is a condition that causes permanent damage to the heart valves.

  • Topic Index - Cardiovascular Disorders

    Detailed information on cardiovascular diseases in children

  • Syncope in Children

    Syncope is a brief loss of consciousness and muscle tone caused when not enough blood gets to the brain. Syncope is commonly called fainting. In most children, it’s usually harmless. But in a few children, syncope is serious. This is usually because of a heart problem.

  • Tricuspid Atresia

    Tricuspid atresia (TA) is a heart defect present at birth (congenital). It occurs when the tricuspid valve doesn’t form right during fetal heart development. This happens during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. The tricuspid valve is located between the right upper chamber (atrium) and the right lower chamber (ventricle) of the heart. The defect keeps blood from flowing normally from the right atrium to the right ventricle.

  • Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return

    Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) is a congenital heart defect. This means that your child is born with it.  It happens as the baby’s heart develops during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy.

  • Transesophageal Echocardiography in Children

    Echocardiography is an imaging test. It uses sound waves to make detailed moving pictures of the heart. It shows the size and shape of the heart, as well as the heart chambers and valves. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) uses a device, called a transducer, that is placed in the esophagus.

  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

    Tetralogy of Fallot is 4 congenital heart defects. This means that your child is born with them. These 4 problems occur together (tetralogy refers to 4).

  • Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)

    Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) is an abnormally developed heart. This condition is congenital. This means that your baby is born with it. In this condition, the large blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs and body aren’t connected as they should be.

  • Heart Defects Causing Too Little Blood Flow Through the Lungs

    Detailed information on heart defects that cause too little blood flow through the lungs

  • Truncus Arteriosus

    Truncus arteriosus is a heart defect that is present at birth (congenital). It occurs when there is an abnormal connection between the aorta and pulmonary artery. Normally, the aorta and the pulmonary artery are separate.

  • Tilt Table Test for Children

    The tilt table test is done find the cause of fainting (syncope). Tilt table testing is done with a special table or bed that changes a child's position from lying to standing. The child's blood pressure and heart rate are checked while he or she is in the different positions.

  • Ultrafast/Electron Beam CT Scan

    Detailed information on ultrafast computed tomography (CT) scan, including reasons for the procedure, risks of the procedure, what to expect, and discharge instructions

  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

    A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a heart defect. It’s congenital. This means that your baby is born with it. A VSD is an opening or hole in the dividing wall (septum) between the two lower chambers of the heart (right and left ventricles). VSDs are the most common type of congenital heart defect.

  • Anomalous Coronary Artery

    An anomalous coronary artery (ACA) is a heart defect. This is something your baby is born with (congenital). In ACA, the blood vessels that supply blood to your child’s heart muscle aren’t normal.

  • Genetic Disorders Associated with Congenital Heart Disease

    Detailed information on congenital heart disease, including patent ductus arteriosus, atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, atrioventricular canal, tricuspid atresia, pulmonary atresia, transposition of the great arteries, tetralogy of Fallot, double outlet right ventricle, truncus arteriosus, coarctation of the aorta, aortic stenosis, and hypoplastic left heart syndrome

  • Eisenmenger's Syndrome

    Eisenmenger’s syndrome primarily affects adolescents and adults with congenital heart defects that were repaired after their first birthday or that were never repaired.

  • Anatomy and Function of the Heart Valves

    Detailed anatomical description of the heart valves, including simple definitions and a labeled, full-color illustration

  • Heart Transplant in Children

    A heart transplant is a surgery to replace a diseased heart with a healthy one from an organ donor. Organ donors are adults or children who have become critically ill, often because because of injury. They will not live because of their illness or injury.

  • Congenital Heart Disease

    Heart problems are the most common kind of birth defects. While children with some heart defects can be monitored by a doctor and treated with medicine, others will need to have surgery.

  • Components of Food

    When trying to make heart-healthy changes to your lifestyle and diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition.

  • The Heart

    Detailed information on the anatomy of the heart and heart transplantation in children

  • 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

    22q11.2 deletion syndrome is a genetic disorder marked by hypoparathyroidism, certain heart defects, and a cleft lip or palate.

  • Stroke in Children

    Stroke is much more common in adults than children, but children get strokes, too. The good news is that a child has a better ability to recover from stoke than an adult because a child's brain is still developing.