View Full Version : any pediatric cardiologists or heart experts out there? (congenital defect question)

02-16-2010, 02:42 AM
Question: how common is it for single-ventricle heart patients to have a Fontan procedure when they're in their early teens (13 or even 14, if that's possible) and what would be the reasons for this?

The MC in my next novel is facing this procedure (at least, that's how I've got it planned out now...) but I know it's usually done on children when they're very young.

02-16-2010, 02:49 AM
I'm not sure your kid is going to make it to early teens without heart failure, but I'll let the human med experts chime in.

Maybe something like a minor VSD that went undiagnosed would fit your situation better? Not sure if a minor VSD would also create major irreversible heart changes in a human though...

02-16-2010, 03:01 AM
Thanks, I'm definitely researching VSD now but this is another one that looks like the surgery (if one is needed) would be done in early childhood. Doesn't work so well for a teenaged protagonist, but I'm going to continue doing research.

(and i've heard of a fontan being done as late as 12yrs old in one case, though I'm not sure how common that is)

02-16-2010, 03:52 AM
Do you need a congenital heart abnormality or could your character develop a heart issue at a very young age? (Don't ask me what those would be, lol. Infectious causes come to mind, generally speaking...)

02-16-2010, 04:13 AM
Hm. It could be a heart problem developed at a very young age, basically anything that would impact her life (ie cause her to miss out on important parts of childhood like playing tag at recess, etc) and be cause for a major surgery around age 13-15. Some sort of heart defect was the best thing I could come up with.

02-16-2010, 07:18 AM
Virtually any bacterial infection from a sore throat or ear infection which are common in kids can spread through the blood to heart valves causing SBE Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis which can then gradually cause valve damage even after treatment eventually resulting in having to have some sort of cardiac surgery in the teen years. It's not so much a problem now in developed countries because of typically prompt antibiotics to treat the primary infection before it gets to the point of starting SBE but it still happens.

You might also look up PFO or Patent Foramen Ovale which can cause a variety of problems depending upon how big the hole is between the ventricles, including making young people have strokes.

As for the procedure you mention, I'm not familiar with it and don't know the indications. I'm a Urologist, not a cardiologist.

02-16-2010, 11:47 AM
This site has a good list of various congential heart defects (http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Topics/Cond/CongenitalHeartDisease.cfm) that might be helpful for finding one that meets the criteria you need.