Pediatric Heart Failure

The heart is a pump that circulates blood and oxygen throughout the body. “Heart failure” occurs when a dysfunctional heart is no longer able to keep up with the body’s demands. In children, heart failure can be caused by a wide variety of conditions that result in abnormal or damaged heart muscle.

There are an estimated 164–480 per million children affected by heart failure worldwide and this number appears to be growing over time. In the United States alone, there are tens of thousands of admissions for pediatric heart failure that cost nearly $1 billion each year.

Children with heart failure present in many different, nonspecific ways making the diagnosis challenging. Often, the condition can be severe, debilitating and even life-threatening. Pediatric heart failure is poorly understood and the evidence to guide management and therapies is quite limited.