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Saturday, August 13, 2022

With early diagnosis, 80% of pediatric patients with cardiomyopathy reach healthy adulthood

Cardiomyopathy mainly affects adults, but in rare cases it affects infants and children.

Dr. Edwin Rodriguez Cruz, Pediatrician Interventional Cardiologist. Photo: Journal of Medicine and Public Health. Fabiola Plaza.

Dr. A.S. Edwin Rodriguez Cruz, a pediatrician, indicated in an exclusive interview with the Journal of Medicine and Public Health, the prevalence in Puerto Rico is estimated at 8 percent, of all patients between birth and adulthood who have some congenital heart disease.

In the expert’s opinion, this number is high, which is why he emphasizes on timely diagnosis, as clinical advances in diagnosis and treatment over the years improve the quality of life in 80 percent of patients.

In this sense, he recalled that in the 60s and 70s more than 70% of babies born with heart problems died. “Today it’s the other way around, because 80 percent of babies born with a heart-related condition are healthy by the time they reach adulthood.”

They confirmed that medical follow-up is for life, and depends on the condition the patient is born with, as on many occasions it will require multiple interventions, or a combination of these.

“A heart murmur is not necessarily a heart problem, so it is important that if the pediatrician finds this abnormal noise, see the pediatrician” who can determine whether it is a normal or abnormal noise, “They said.

In this sense, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that cardiomyopathy is rare and underdiagnosed and is also the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in children under the age of 18. Because the condition can present without symptoms, families should be aware of any relatives who have heart disease or who died suddenly before their 50th birthday.

In this regard, Dr. Rodriguez said that to date “patients have a variety of choices between surgery, catheterization, and medications. Some patients with these interventions may not require medication, but others do.”

With regard to diagnosis, the specialist pointed out that there are several diagnostic criteria even before birth. Even the American Academy recommends that because it is rare, it is recommended to go to a children’s medical center with extensive experience in caring for children with cardiomyopathy. Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease is essential to prevent complications and its progression into heart failure.

“When a child has problems with their weight and growth, one of the first things to notice is heart problems. When they are a little older, if there is an obstacle to exercise, a heart problem should also be ruled out,” Dr. Rodriguez said.

However, he cautioned that it should not be confused with a sedentary lifestyle and lack of activity, as it also leads to heart problems, diabetes and other conditions in adulthood. “Puerto Ricans have a high incidence of these diseases, so it is important to follow through and be proactive in our lives.”

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