Your child needs optimum care at home after heart surgery. Infection at the treated site happens in 2.3-8% of kids after this procedure, says a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Proper aftercare can often prevent such side effects. Also, you may consider visiting the best pediatric cardiac surgeon in Hyderabad to minimize the possibility of any risks in the first place. Here is everything to know about looking after your kid after pediatric heart surgery.
- Your child may take a sponge bath without too hot water.
- He/she must avoid swimming for 3-4 weeks.
- Avoid applying ointments or creams on his/her wound.
- Let Steri-Strips fall off by themselves.
- The cardiologist may remove the stitches at the incisions before your kid returns home from the hospital.
- The chest tube sites might have some drainage for up to 14 days. So, change the bandages at the sites every morning and evening, following the cardiologist’s directions.
- Keep the child away from climbing or riding toys for at least 4-6 weeks.
- If your kid is treated with an incision over his/her breastbone, it mustn’t be injured or bumped at all.
- Check with the pediatric cardiologist before letting your kid rejoin gym classes and/or sports.
- If your child doesn’t reduce activities on his/her own, supervise and remind the kid to take it easy until full recovery.
- Taking rest is vital to recovery. So, encourage naps to improve healing.
- Lift infants and small kids only by scooping (lifting under their buttocks with support against the shoulders and neck) for 4 weeks to not put stress on the incision.
- Your kid mustn’t lift, push, or pull things heavier than 10 pounds (like walking your dog) for 6 weeks.
Return to Daycare or School
- The pediatric cardiologist will recommend when your kid can return to daycare or school.
- Inform the child’s school nurse and teacher regarding any restrictions due to the surgery. Request them to treat the kid as normally as possible.
- If required, the cardiologist may send a letter to the child’s school listing any activity restrictions.
Dental procedures mustn’t be performed for at least 6 weeks after pediatric cardiac surgery.
- Your kid may be irritable or moody. If it’s concerning, call the pediatrician.
- Toddlers and preschoolers might feel more separation anxiety for some days. They are expected to regain the skills of, for instance, toilet training and independence after a period.
- Preschoolers and toddlers might have nightmares for a short while. Try to comfort and reassure them to help them get back to sleep.
When to Call the Cardiologist?
You must contact a pediatric cardiologist in Hyderabad for the following concerns of your child after heart surgery:
- Pain not relieved with prescribed medications
- No urination at least every 8 hours
- Recurrent vomiting
- Breathing harder or faster
- Unusual cough
- Poor appetite
- Bluish or pale color
- Incision not healing or undergoing drainage
- Temperature is higher than 38.33°C
- Increasing warmth, redness, or swelling at the incision or the area surrounding it
While children take rest after surgery, give them more time and attention to take off their focus from their wounds or other temporary concerns.