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Top Tips for Paediatric Cardiology


Here is our next fabulous little treasure trove of tips on Paediatric Cardiology from Helen Ormrod and Anna Mcquorquodale…

  1. In SVT – use a 3 way tap because the adenosine half life is so small that even if you use a bio-connector, the medication will get lost and you don’t want to be giving more adenosine than you need to.
  2. When performing pre- and post-ductal sats, use the right hand and right leg – as a rule of thumb, looking for a gradient of more than 5 (95% vs 90%). We do this because we are worried about any cardiac lesion that is affecting systemic circulation such as cortication of the aorta
  3. Four limb BP is only useful within the first 3-4 months of life because of the conditions that we are looking for. The gradient has to be 20 or more. Don’t worry if there is a tiny discrepancy.
  4. When following up a patient with a known congenital heart disease, try and find out through their letter or consultant where they are with their surgery. If they now have an anatomically normal heart, we don’t need to be as concerned about their cardiac disease. For example, a PDA ligation 3 years ago.
  5. It’s important to be aware that CHD kids, especially post repair, are more likely to have arrhythmias (even if they have reached a stage where their heart is structurally normal). Arrhythmias that can be quite benign in general kids can have a significantly more detrimental effect on those with CHD (even if repaired).
  6. Fluids are part of a delicate balance. These patients need to remain hydrated in order to help their cardiac function but for the same reason they should not be overloaded. Strict input and output balances are required.
    • If the patient has a cardiac shunt (BT Shunt etc) and are dehydrated, this is a life threatening emergency and can become a cardiac arrest very quickly. Move to resus!
  7. If a child has an uncorrected TOFF and have come in with pyrexia or discomfort need to be managed in HDU bay as they can become sick very quickly. Apply cardiac monitoring and saturation.
  8. If a cardiac baby is septic, there is no reason not to give treatment as they need it to help their cardiac function.

What are some of your top tips? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

For your convenience, the top tips are summarised in an A4 poster format (infographic design by Kat Priddis @kls_kat & Grace Leo @gracie_leo):

A colourful infographic showing some of the paediatric cardiology tips covered in the post


  • Ana Waddington is a senior Nurse (Sister) in paediatric emergency and trauma care at London’s largest trauma centre, with a specialised interest in severe youth violence in London. Founder of YourStance - save a life, don’t take a life, small project teaching basic life support and haemorrhage control to young offenders in prisons across London. Prior to training as a nurse, her specialist interest in adolescent care was nurtured from working in adolescent oncology and refugee work. From Spain, United Kingdom and Chile, Ana is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian, having been brought up in various countries around the world.


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