Mended Little Hearts Open Forum

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  • 1.  ADHD

    Posted 10-08-2017 20:53
    My 4 year old with ToF has REALLY been struggling with PreK. While we were at his Cardio appt lat week, she suggested that a significant amount of kids who had heart surgery in infancy are later diagnosed with ADHD.  The Cardiologist explained that they believe it has to do with the oxygen deprivation during surgery. She said it like it was common knowledge, but I'd never heard that before.
    Any one else dealing with behavioral issues & the Cardiologist suggest the two are related?
    And if yes, what have you done as a solution?
    I really don't want to add in more drugs if we don't have to.

    Amy--Oliver's Mom
    Peculiar MO


  • 2.  RE: ADHD

    Posted 10-09-2017 12:52
    That sounds really hard. We knew that our son's heart condition could be associated with a range of learning, cognitive, development issues, etc, so we did a lot of learning and research around these topics with the hope of trying to prevent what we could. We made some pretty significant life changes, primarily around diet, lifestyle, technology and stimulation/sensory (no TV, more nature, etc) and so far he's right on track, though we know that could change at some point. He's now three. I'm skeptical of a simplistic causation-type anecdote (surgery = ADHD) as I think humans - our environment and biology, etc - are very complicated and layered with no single answer.  I definitely have come around to the idea that early intervention/diagnosis is helpful, so PreK sounds like you have lots of time to figure out what's going to work for you al! I don't have specific knowledge about ADHD but I'm happy to share resources that have been helpful to us.

    Aspen Baker
    Oakland CA

  • 3.  RE: ADHD

    Posted 10-09-2017 12:56

    There is a lot of data to suggest that kids with a history of CHD and OHS do have neurological damage that may hinder learning. Learning disabilities are very common. I don't know if ADHD is a direct correlation or not. But, I do know that MANY of our CHD kids have a difficult time in school, for a variety of reasons. The Open Heart Surgery "may" be part of the cause, but there are likely other variables. Low birth weight, failure to thrive, bypass machines, in utero growth restrictions, etc. There are a lot of papers that have really researched the "cause" but it's likely (From a Dr who I have talked with) a combination of causes. The important thing is that we identify that our kids are at risk, and work to help them in their school aged years.

    If you can talk with a neurodevelopmental pediatrician or find a neurodevelop clinic that would be a great place to start. You can also reach out to local pyschs to get an evaluation. If he's in preschool he's young enough to find a way to help him with therapies and interventions so that he can excel!
    Good luck!

    Andrea Baer
    Director of Patient Advocacy
    Mended Hearts/Mended Little Hearts
    Grapeville PA
    Director of Patient Advocacy