AHA PALS Renewal Courses: Keep Your PALS Card Current

Knowing how to treat cardiovascular health disorders is important for any professional involved in emergency healthcare.  It is particularly important when children are the patients.  This is why healthcare professionals involved in treating pediatric heart disease are required to undertake AHA PALS training, and then keep their certification current by undertaking AHA PALS renewal courses every 2 years.

Adult Heart Disease Vs Pediatric Heart Disease

Adults can develop heart failure when they smoke, develop high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and faulty heart valves.  However, heart failure can also happen in young people – newborns, infants, toddlers, and teenagers.

In children and adolescents, there are two primary causes of heart failure.  “Over-circulation failure” is the term used to describe the mixing of blood within the heart caused by a congenital heart defect.  “Pump failure” means muscles in the heart are damaged, affecting its ability to function normally ie contract.  Each has its own specific type of treatment.  Knowing how to correctly diagnose and treat heart disease in children is the subject of AHA PALS training and AHA PALS renewal courses.

AHA PALS Renewal – Know How To Correctly Treat Heart Failure In Children

If heart failure is caused by over-circulation due to a congenital heart defect, surgery to repair the defect is frequently required.  Your doctor may initially treat your child with medications, which may necessitate hospitalisation.  Diuretics (water pills) and afterload reducers are examples of appropriate medications.  They can assist in unloading excess fluid volume, lowering blood pressure resistance, and improving the heart’s pump function.

The same medications listed above may be used if the heart failure is caused by pump failure.  Other blood pressure medications can sometimes help the heart pump more efficiently.  Hospitalization may be required in order to improve heart function even more.  Surgery, such as replacing a damaged heart valve, may also be required at times.

Pump failure brought on by an increased heart rate indicates that your child may need heartbeat regulating medication.  To correct the abnormal heart rhythm, a specialised heart catheterization procedure (radiofrequency ablation) may be recommended.  This procedure involves the application of short bursts of radio waves to the area of heart muscle that is causing the rapid heartbeat.

Pump failure caused by a slow heartbeat frequently necessitates the use of a pacemaker.  Pacemakers serve as a reminder to the heart to maintain a normal heart rate.  The small, battery-powered devices, which resemble miniature computers, are surgically implanted beneath your child’s skin via a small wire connected to the heart.

When pump failure is caused by irreparable damage to the heart muscle, its function may not improve with medication.  It may even get worse.  In this case, a special pacemaker, mechanical pump (LVAD), or ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenator) may be required to temporarily improve heart pump function.  If heart muscle function continues to deteriorate despite treatment, the heart specialist may recommend a heart transplant.

AHA PALS Renewal Courses: Keep Up To Date With Pediatric Heart Disease Treatment

It’s important to remember that heart failure is not a death sentence for a child.  Many causes of pediatric heart disease are actually treatable or repairable.  However, parents and family members of affected children must understand the causes and treatments of paediatric heart failure if they’re to help the child live a full and happy life.

In fact, as new medications and improved techniques become available, many children with heart problems should be able to lead relatively normal lives so long as their parents make sure they receive proper medical care.  To ensure this is given, health care professionals who work with pediatric cardiovascular disorders must have AHA PALS training and must keep their certification current by taking AHA PALS renewal classes every 2 years.