• Ertan Mert
  • Betül Ünal
  • Olgu Hallıoğlu
  • Esat Yılgör

Eurasian J Emerg Med 2006;5(2):28-31

Cardiac diseases are rarely seen in children, but clinical pictures are different from those of adults and sometimes have poor outcomes. In this study, we investigated the demographic and clinical characteristics of children with cardiac problems presenting to the emergency department, and also determined the costs of treatment.

The records of eighty-four children with cardiac problems presenting to the pediatric emergency department of our teritary-care university hospital from September 2003 to September 2004 were retrospectively investigated. Echocardiography had been performed in all patients.

Of all children presenting during the study period, 0.7% were diagnosed as having cardiac problems. Most cases (33.3%) were seen in the spring months. Most (51.2%) were male and the mean age was 4.7±5.5 years. Septal defects (ventricular and/or atrial) (25%) were the most common cause of cardiac problems, followed by chest pain/syncope (16.7%), heart failure with accompanying pneumonia or sepsis (16.7%), rhythm problems (10.7%), and complex congenital heart diseases (10.7%). Of this patient group, 46.4% were hospitalized, for a mean duration of 11.5+10.8 days. Most of the hospitalized patients (41 %) had septum defects and/or complex congenital heart diseases. The mean treatment costs for hospitalized patients was 6000 YTL.

Awareness of the most frequently encountered childhood heart problems seen in the emergency department can serve as a guide to the emergency room physicians and their training, and we believe that knowledge of these problems should be included in advanced life support courses.

Keywords: Cardiac problems, childhood, emergency department