Who is a Pediatric Heart Surgeon?
Pediatric heart surgeons provide necessary care and treatment to infants, young children, and teenagers who suffer from diverse heart ailments. The surgeons are competent and experienced enough to provide requisite medical attention to adults suffering from heart diseases as well, but have specialized in childcare. Pediatric heart surgeons are capable of treat both congenital as well as acquired defects that cause anomalous heart functioning in children. Where congenital heart diseases are diagnosed right after birth and mostly result due to faulty heart formations or sudden mutations, acquired diseases are diagnosed in the later phase. Pediatric heart surgery needs to be explicit and demands thorough analysis of the complexity, and are thus, performed by specialists with decades of experience. Heart surgery in infants are extremely challenging because they are still developing and are small in size.
a. What does a pediatric heart surgeon do?
Children may suffer from a wide range of heart diseases. Where the acquired diseases may occur due to sudden trauma, injury or resurfacing of underlying mutations, congenital heart diseases mostly occur due to faulty heart formation or mutations. In most of the cases, the defects can be treated by traditional and conservative methods. However, in extreme cases, pediatric heart surgery becomes unavoidable and necessary. This is when the pediatric heart surgeons come into action. From providing treatments like cardiac catheterization to operating open heart surgeries, the surgeons devise every possible way to provide ultimate care and relief to the children and help them lead a normal and happy life.
Besides operating, the pediatric heart surgeons also offer thorough pre and post-operative care as well and thus, guarantee the complete well-being of the children. They are also capable of managing complications and other possible risks attached to the surgery.
Types of treatment provided:
- Surgical procedures for repairing damaged or injured portions in the heart. This can be due to sudden trauma or physical injury incurred from a recent accident.
- Corrective operations for curing defects, holes and abnormalities in the heart tissue, septum, major and minor blood vessels or cardiac lining. Such conditions are mostly congenital and are detected right after birth.
- Heart transplants to replace defective heart with thoroughly functional heart from a donor.
- Lung transplants of damaged an non-functional lungs with fresh and completely functional lungs from a donor
- Various other acquired heart diseases in new born, infant, children and teenagers
b. What qualifications are required to become a pediatric heart surgeon?
The surgeons need to be furnished with necessary degrees so as to be eligible for becoming a reputed pediatric heart surgeon. Apart from the experience earned over the years, one can function in renowned hospitals and multi-specialty clinics only after being adequately qualified. For obtaining specialization in children heart surgery, an approximate period of eleven to fifteen years is required. Hence, the necessary qualifications for the same are:
- Bachelor’s in medical degree for 4 years
- Resident general surgeon for 5 years
- Cardiothoracic resident doctor/surgeon inclusive of pediatric heart surgery for a period of 6 months at least
- Specializing in pediatric heart surgery for a period of approximately 2-4 years
c. Top Pediatric Heart Surgeons across the world (country wise)
Pediatric heart surgery requires specialization in the field, as the surgical procedure is comparatively more challenging than that of adults. The surgeons must not only be qualified, but should also be enriched with decades of experience in operating complex heart defects. Experience in such cases is duly important, so as to avoid complications, side effects and other risk factors attached to severe cases. Heart surgery in children requires multi-specialty healthcare, and advanced medical facilities and is only performed in major countries worldwide. Thus, here is a list of globally renowned topmost pediatric heart surgeons who have excelled in performance and flaunt a record of high success rate worldwide:
- Dr. Andrews M. Davidoff, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The United States
- Dr. Ashish Chikermane, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, The United Kingdom
- Dr. Joe Crameri, Royal’s Children Hospital, Australia
- Dr. Krishna A. Iyer, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, India
- Dr. Savitri Srivastava, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, India
- Dr. Scott P. Barlette, The Curtis Center, Philadelphia
- Dr. Redmond P. Burke, Miami Children’s Hospital
- Dr. Michael R. Harrison, San Francisco Fetal Treatment Center