Diagnosing and treating pediatric heart defects and disease

If your pediatrician has recommended that your child see a cardiologist, they may suspect your child’s heart is not functioning normally.

Approximately 0.8 percent of children are born with a congenital heart defect. Other children can develop heart disease caused by a disease, genetic condition, or virus. Heart problems can be detected at any age, including prenatally.

Schedule an appointment with a pediatric cardiology specialist

Pediatric cardiac conditions we treat

At Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s, we see children with a complete spectrum of heart disease that includes:

Congenital heart defects

If a child’s heart does not develop normally during gestation, they will be born with a heart defect that keeps your child’s heart from pumping normally. Sometimes these conditions resolve themselves over time or do not produce symptoms. In other cases, surgery is required to repair the defect.

Cardiovascular disease or heart disease

Due to the rise in obesity, children and teens today are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease than ever. Cholesterol, or fatty plaque, can build up in a child’s heart and vascular system—like in an adult’s—and put them at higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.


Sometimes the heart muscles can be weakened through a viral infection or other conditions. In these cases, the muscle cells often change shape. When this happens, the heart does not pump as it should.

Specialized pediatric heart clinic

Children ages two and older should have their blood cholesterol levels checked if they have a family history of heart disease or heart attack. Children with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, Kawasaki disease, collagen vascular disease or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) should also have their blood cholesterol levels checked because these conditions are risk factors for heart disease.

Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Cardiovascular Health Clinic performs a primary screen that measures fasting lipid profiles (including total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides).

Additionally, it is important to evaluate for secondary causes of lipid disorders (such as hypothyroidism, liver or renal dysfunction or certain medications).