COVID-19 and Its Effect on Congenital Heart Disease

If your child has already been diagnosed with congenital heart defects, then remember that the kid will be more vulnerable and can get critically ill, in case he or she is ever infected with Coronavirus. They are at a much higher risk for COVID-19:

So, your family member must take all possible precautions to minimize any risk of infection particularly for your child. In fact, if your child is below 2 years of age then you cannot even use any BYD N95 masks for them and therefore you need to be very vigilant about your child.

So, if you need to take your child for cardiac check-up, then how can you visit a hospital where there is always a chance of being infected? Following are few precautions and steps that you must take during OPD consultation.

  1. If any of the parents has fever or cough then does not bring your child for check-up. Same is the case if any of your close contacts are COVID-19 positive. Also, if the child too has fever and coughs then first his respiratory infection treatment is necessary by a general pediatrician. After treatment his/her cardiac condition will be checked.
  2. Only one attendant will be allowed with the patient at the hospital.
  3. Instead of coming to a hospital directly, you need to take prior appointment in order to minimize the waiting time at the hospital. The child will be directly taken for check-up.
  4. Attendants of the child must wear masks and if your child is above 5 years age then the child should also be given suitable mask to wear.
  5. All doctors and nurses seeing the patient will be wearing appropriate PPE while checking the patient. This will minimize any risk of being cross-infected from even asymptomatic COVID-19 patients.

In case, you need to admit your child for any surgery or intervention, then how should the procedure be like? In such case, bring your child along with single attendant (normally mother) and both will be admitted.

As per the present guidelines, both the child and attendant will be tested for COVID-19.  Once both of them are found COVID-19 negative, then the hospital will first shift your child along with the attendant to pre-surgical cardiac ward. Surgery will usually be planned for the next day.

In case, the results of COVID-19 test is still pending, and an emergency surgery is needed because of critical nature of the heart disease, then the patient will be treated by doctors and nurses wearing full PPE kit and will take all precautions for preventing cross-infection.

Please note that various studies have indicated that the risk of any surgery are higher for COVID positive patients. Therefore, it is important that parents too must understand this fact.

It should not mean that any emergency cardiac procedures will not be done for critically ill patients in case he happens to be COVID positive because not treating any critical cardiac defect can also be a life-threatening situation.

It must be understood that we should accept higher risk of cardiac procedure while treating these COVID-19 positive patients along with critical type of congenital heart defects.

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