Child

Lifestyle Advice

  • Travel Information

    The majority of people with congenital heart disease can and do fly/travel long distances around the world. If you are unsure ask at your outpatient appointment or contact the Congenital Nurse Specialist. The most important point to remember is to ensure that you declare your heart condition when booking travel insurance. Any omissions or mistakes made in relation to your medical condition can be used as grounds to refuse your claim if made.

  • Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist

    The specialist physiotherapist works with the cardiac specialist nurses and cardiologists to provide help and advice on all physical activity issues for children and young people with congenital heart conditions. The Physiotherapist may be able to advise you:

    • If you would like advice on the best activities / sport for you and your heart
    • If you have difficulty with physical activities at school or if your school would like some advice on PE
    • Discussing if you need to limit / avoid particular activities
    • To help you achieve the level of fitness most appropriate for your condition.
    • To help you back to activity / exercise after heart surgery
    • If you want to know more about your heart condition and the effects of exercise then please contact

    Sarah Hibbert Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist 0113 392 6361 sarah.hibbert3@nhs.net

  • Career Advice

    It is important that you know where to get the right career advice as you may need to be realistic about your career options. Those with rigorous fitness tests such as the armed forces or police may not be an option. However that is not to say that there is not the right job out there for you. Connexions direct are a really useful source of information offering advice on education choices and careers. They can be contacted on 0808 001 3219 or http://www.leedspathways.org.uk/connexions/.

    You may feel that your heart condition may make it difficult for you to find a job. The website https://www.gov.uk/careers-helpline-for-teenagers is a useful resource with information about disability employment advisers who can help you to find a job to suit you or help in practical ways to enable you to work.

  • Insurance

    It can be difficult for some people who have congenital heart disease to get insurance. This is often because companies do not have the medical knowledge relating to specific congenital heart conditions or there is a lack of long-term survival data available. This can cause problems when tying to buy a house or get life insurance.

    The best advice is to shop around as there can be marked differences between companies. It is important that you inform the insurance company of your medical condition to ensure that you are fully covered. There are some more sympathetic insurers who can be identified and contacted through Somerville Foundation Tel: 0800 854759.

  • Diet

    Generally children with heart problems do not have to follow a special diet and like all children should eat well balanced meals including plenty of fruit and vegetables.

    Healthy eating helps reduce the risk of developing many conditions such as cancer, constipation, obesity and tooth decay. Eating a good variety and balance of foods and taking regular exercise gives your child the best chance of being fitter and healthier.

    Babies will only be discharged from hospital once feeding has been established. Your child’s health visitor will be informed on discharge and will continue to monitor your baby’s progress once you are home. Occasionally babies need calorie supplements added to their milk, if this is needed you will be shown how to add these to feeds and be provided with a supply to take home. Further supplies would be available on prescription.

    The hospital dietician or practice nurse, based at your local surgery, are available to give advice.