Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Detecting and Correcting Congenital Heart Defects

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Detecting and Correcting Congenital Heart Defects

Article excerpt

Today marks the beginning of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, an observation that acknowledges a birth defect that affects about 35,000 babies in the United States every year.

Heart defects have long been the most common birth defect, but technology to treat them continues to evolve every year as specialists work to find new techniques to help children with these disorders.

Imaging plays a significant role in the lives of many children with congenital heart defects. Through advanced imaging technology, specialists are often able to detect heart problems while the baby is still in the womb. This allows physicians to formulate the best treatment plan that can be implemented as soon as the baby is born.

Technology for doctors to detect and monitor heart problems in even the tiniest patients continues to advance by leaps and bounds. An echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, is a common way for experts to diagnose many heart problems in babies and young children. This non-invasive technology provides doctors with a view of whats happening within the heart by using sound waves.

Some heart conditions may benefit from other imaging capabilities. Some centers are able to use magnetic resonance imaging to find and track heart problems in young patients. Being able to use technology such as MRI for heart problems is a huge benefit for pediatric heart patients.

Cardinal Glennon recently opened a new imaging center that offers the lowest dose of radiation available for pediatric CT scans. However, for patients who must undergo frequent imaging throughout their lifetime, finding alternatives methods of imaging is important.

MRI also enables doctors to reproduce that scan over the coming years to determine if there are any changes in that patients heart, said Dr. Nadeem Parkar, co-director of cardiac radiology at Cardinal Glennon. …

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