Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

10 Ellul 5761 - August 29, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine

Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Ma'ayenei Hayeshua Hospital

What does a pediatric cardiologist do? For sure, they rarely see problems that happen with adults -- kids just don't often get heart attacks or need pacemakers. And for sure, they see a lot of cases of heart malformations from birth. But there are some diseases that occur in children that affect the heart that are somewhat more common.

Kids get pericarditis and myocarditis, which are viral infections of the covering of the heart and the muscles of the heart, respectively. They both often do very well, but they can be painful and require hospitalization for the cases that go bad. Myocarditis is much more dangerous than pericarditis in general.

Commotio Cordis is a scary new disease where a blow to the chest can cause an abnormal heart rhythm and sudden death. We are still learning about this problem, which can happen in kids who are engaging in any contact sports or games with balls.

Sudden death in young adults may also be due to the heart, although this is also poorly understood. One thing we have learned recently is about Brugada syndrome, a disease of the heart that runs in the family where an EKG abnormality can cause sudden death.

What does a pediatric pulmonologist do? Children's lungs are more sensitive than adults, and they see a lot of asthma, which can be tricky in kids. Fortunately, it improves with age. Cystic fibrosis is also a disease they often see. It is an inborn problem where there are multiple problems caused by mucous plugging of the airways and salt abnormalities. These children used to all die, but now many, if not most, make it to adulthood.

Little babies, especially premature ones, can have BPD, which is a problem of lung immaturity, but the discovery of surfactant, the material that allows the diffusion of oxygen into the blood stream, has made these children survive longer.

Actually, aside from asthma, the most common problem they will see is inspirated foreign bodies. Giving small objects, especially nuts, to children is asking for trouble. Write me in care of the Yated.

A message from Glaxo, sponsor of this column. How can we speak about lungs without mentioning Glaxo's full line of asthma drugs, which include the short acting broncodilator (drug which opens up the breathing tubes) called Ventolin, and the longer acting Serevent, both revolutionary in their fields. They are not new -- they have stood the test of time and are accepted as the standard in asthma therapy.


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