Your Child's Office Visit at the Heart Institute

Learning Your Child Has Heart Disease Before You Give Birth

Some parents-to-be learn their baby has a heart problem before birth.

Pregnant women can have their ob-gyn refer them to a cardiologist who is trained in checking the hearts of unborn babies. He or she can do a fetal echocardiogram (ECHO) any time from week 18 of pregnancy to delivery.

An early diagnosis offers both the family and their doctor time to plan the baby's care.

Getting Your Child the Heart Care They Need

After your baby is born, you'll need your pediatrician or family doctor to refer you to a children's heart doctor.

If they referred you to the Heart Institute at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we'll send you a letter to confirm.

Please plan to set aside a few hours for an office visit so your child's care team can:

  • Give your child a thorough exam.
  • Have your child get tests such as a chest X-ray, an EKG, and an ECHO.
  • Answer your questions and help you and your family with any special needs.

Your Child's Exam at UPMC Children's Hospital's Heart Institute

Since UPMC Children's is a teaching hospital, your child will see a heart doctor and either a:

  • Resident (a doctor receiving advanced training in children's health).
  • Fellow (a pediatrician receiving advanced training in children's cardiology).

After the exam, the heart doctor will explain your child's diagnosis, answer your questions, and discuss any plans for future treatment.

Some kids don't need treatment even though they have a heart problem. In other cases, the doctor may suggest further diagnostic tests or treatment.

Treatments could include:

We're Here to Help You Understand Your Child's Heart Problem

Learning all about your child's heart problem is no easy task.

The doctor will be glad to spend as much time as you wish to talk about your child's diagnosis and treatment plans. Other members of your child's heart care team also are happy to provide this kind of help.

When you schedule your child's next office visit, you can ask for the same heart doctor. If you don't make this request, your child will see the doctor assigned to the office that day.

If you have more questions after your appointment, you can call us or schedule a time to talk with us in person. And you or your family doctor can contact a UPMC Children's heart doctor any time, 24/7 in case of an emergency.

Contact the Heart Institute at UPMC Children's

For the Heart Institute at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, call 412-692-5540.

Or if you don't live close to Pittsburgh, find UPMC Children's heart care near you.