March 30th, 2020
Coronavirus Advice - Paediatric Patient Advice (CHD)
In light of the coronavirus pandemic we are regularly reviewing how we work in the Paediatric Cardiology service in Leeds. Our goal is to keep the service running for those who need it whilst keeping our well patients as safe as possible.
The following incorporates guidance from the government and other sources such as the British Congenital Cardiac Association, and we will continue to update as the situation develops.
While many people will catch the virus over the next few weeks to months, the risk of becoming unwell as a result is low, particularly for children and younger adults. We do not yet know whether patients with an underlying congenital heart condition will be at any greater risk from the virus.
General government advice HERE
As from 24/3/20 the advice from the Government, for all citizens, is to stay at home and:
Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
Wash your hands as soon as you get home
If you, your child or a member of your household think you may have coronavirus
Symptoms that indicate possible coronavirus are a new continuous cough and / or a high temperature. If you, your child or another member of your household have either of these symptoms it is important to follow the national guidance on self-isolation, available Here.
If symptoms are serious, and cannot be managed at home, visit NHS 111 online (but only call NHS111 if you cannot get online).
If your child is admitted to hospital inform the paediatric cardiology specialist nurses (0113 392 5467, Email who will discuss your case with the paediatric cardiologist on call.
If your child develops symptoms consistent with having the virus they should continue any medicines that they take regularly for their heart, because if they are stopped there is a risk of deterioration of their heart condition.
The government’s advice on the use of ibuprofen to treat symptoms of coronavirus infection is available Here
Is your child at increased risk from coronavirus?
The government has stated that patients with ‘chronic heart disease’ are likely to be at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus. Whilst technically all children with heart problems have ‘chronic heart disease’, most are at no greater risk than the general population and the general government recommendations should be followed Here specifically the sections ‘What is Social Distancing’ and ‘Handwashing and Respiratory Hygiene.’
There is understandable concern that children with more complicated or severe congenital heart disease may be at greater risk of becoming unwell with coronavirus. However, the experience of Paediatric Cardiology centres around the world tells us that they are not aware of any cases of children with complex congenital heart disease becoming seriously unwell with the virus.
Nevertheless, the consensus view of paediatric cardiologists across the UK is that certain groups with complex heart disease may be at greater risk, including children:
With a single ventricle, Fontan circulation or Glenn shunt
Who have cyanosis (low blood oxygen levels)
Who have heart failure / cardiomyopathy requiring medication
Who take regular medicines to improve heart function
With pulmonary hypertension or Eisenmenger syndrome
With tetralogy of Fallot, an atrioventricular septal defect or a large ventricular septal defect that has not yet been operated on
With Di George syndrome if the immune system is affected
For these children it may be sensible to make particular effort to avoid getting the virus by following the guidance on social distancing referred to above.
Until further notice there will not be any routine in-person outpatient appointments. Instead, we will review patients over the phone or in a video call. Patients will be contacted directly by a doctor or nurse (appointments will not be sent out in advance).
We will try to minimise requesting tests such as ECGs, echo scans and blood tests, but will arrange these if they are necessary. For anyone who does need to be seen in person a hospital appointment will be arranged.
The high risk outpatient service will continue as normal.
If you have any concerns regarding your heart you should contact the paediatric cardiology specialist nurses on 0113 392 5467 or Email.
Planned operations and catheter procedures
We continue to perform urgent cardiac surgery and keyhole procedures but are not currently able to perform any routine surgery or keyhole procedures.
The fetal echocardiography service scans the developing babies of pregnant women for heart abnormalities. We are not currently able to offer these scans to women where the chance of finding an abnormality is low (for example where there is a family history of congenital heart disease). However, we are still able to scan women where the chance of finding an abnormality is higher, for example when a problem has been suspected on a routine anomaly scan.