Dr Michael Portman Explains How Cardiac Disease Differs Between Pediatric, Adult Patients

During an interview at the 2022 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Michael A. Portman, MD, FAHA, Seattle Children's Hospital addressed how cardiac disease presents in pediatric vs adult patients.

During an interview at the 2022 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago, the different types of cardiac diseases that present in pediatric patients vs adult patients were addressed by Michael A. Portman, MD, FAHA, director, Pediatric Cardiovascular Research, Center for Integrative Brain Research, and professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children's Hospital and the University of Washington in Seattle.


How do treatments that address cardiac disease in children differ from those given to adult patients?

That's a really good question. The first issue is that children have different types of disease than adults. So in our particular study, we looked at several different types of heart disease. One was something called Kawasaki disease, which affects the coronary arteries and causes giant sacs, called aneurysms, that have a propensity for developing clots. That really doesn't occur in adults.

The second population is a population of patients who have single ventricle anatomy. So instead of 2 pumping chambers of the heart, there's only 1 and you have to do a surgical procedure called a Fontan procedure to assist 1 ventricle in performing the work of both. So those patients are also at high risk for clotting.

Those patients do grow up, they all grew up to be adults, but these are different diseases than adults get, who have, for instance, atrial fibrillation or myocardial infarction or coronary artery sclerosis—they're totally different types of diseases. We do have patients who have heart failure, and that is similar to adults, but treatment for adults is not necessarily the best treatment for children.

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