Children with congenital heart conditions are at a higher risk for developmental delays
and problems with thinking, learning, and/or behavior. The American Heart Association
and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend developmental and behavioral
testing for children with some types of heart conditions. Monitoring is recommended,
even if you are not seeing any problems now. Early assessment and help are important
and can help prevent problems in the future.
Types of problems include
- Movement problems
- Feeding problems
- Speech and language problems
- Problems with reading, math, and writing
- Attention, focus, and keeping things organized
- Relationships with friends and family members
Your child should be evaluated if
- They had open heart surgery as a newborn/infant
- They have a heart condition that causes decreased oxygen levels (cyanotic heart
- They have more than one of the following:
- Developmental delay
- History of mechanical support (ECMO or VAD)
- Heart transplant
- History of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- They had a hospital stay greater than 2 weeks after surgery
- Seizures related to congenital heart disease surgery
- Abnormalities on imaging of the brain or microcephaly
If your child requires evaluation
For children 0 to 3 years old
- Your child may be scheduled for a visit to the High-Risk Infant Follow-Up Clinic or CHOC Children’s Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic. Here we will evaluate your child’s development. We will give recommendations for treatment if needed.
- This visit will involve us doing play activities with your child to look at his/her thinking, language, and movement.
For children over 3 years old:
- Your child may be scheduled for a visit at the CHOC Children’s Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic. Here we will assess your child’s thinking, learning, behavior, and emotional functioning. We will give recommendations for treatment if needed.
- This visit will involve activities that will help you better understand your child’s strengths and areas that are challenging for them.
If your child is hospitalized
The Cardiovascular ICU team will determine if your child needs developmental help
while in the hospital. Before discharge from the hospital the Cardiovascular ICU team
may refer your child to receive further treatment or ask you to follow up with your
cardiologist if needed.
CHOC Children’s High-Risk Infant Follow-Up Clinic
1201 W. La Veta Ave.
Orange, CA 92868
CHOC Children’s Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic
CHOC Children’s Psychology Department
Centrum North Building (Suite 470)
1120 W. La Veta Ave.
Orange, CA 92868