If your child has recently been diagnosed with a heart condition, chances are your child's pediatrician has referred you to a specialist with extensive training and experience. A specialist who treats infants children and teenagers with heart-related conditions is known as a pediatric cardiologist. Many specialists also perform surgery. Before the initial visit and evaluation with the pediatric cardiologist, it is very important to be prepared. One easy way to do this is by asking pertinent questions – before and during the visit. You probably have already inquired about the specialist's medical background and training. Next you should concentrate on asking the following questions so you will be prepared for the initial office visit:

1. What Should Be Brought Along to the Initial Office Visit?

It's important to know what is needed when you go for your child's initial evaluation. You may be told to bring any medications that your child is taking with you so the doctor may see. Also, you should bring a copy of your child's medical history and report, as well as the name of his or her pediatrician and any doctors who have treated your child. Insurance cards and documents should also be brought to the office.

You might also want to ask if it's permitted for a young child or toddler to bring along a favorite toy to the examining room. This may help keep the child calm, so his or her focus is not on the evaluation and exam. Equally important, ask if a parent or guardian may be brought along into the examining room to reassure the child. 

2. What Is To Be Expected From the Child's Initial Exam and Evaluation?

If you know what to expect, you may feel less anxious and more at ease during the first office visit. Knowing about the procedures involved will also enable you to explain to an older child what the doctor will do and what to expect. Most likely, you will be informed that your child will undergo a thorough examination and assessment of his or her medical health and condition. Upon the first visit, an electrocardiogram may also be performed. This procedure is commonly referred to as an EKG.

The EKG is a test that detects the electrical activity of the heart, in order to check for abnormalities and irregularities. The machine will print out lines on a paper which represent the patient's electrical activity within the heart. These wavy lines, which vary in spikes and dips, can help the doctor determine if the heart muscle is contracting and functioning properly. For more information, talk to a professional like Alpert Zales & Castro Pediatric Cardiology.