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Diagnosis and treatment

The children’s cardiac department sees babies and children up to 18 years old. Patients are referred to the department as emergency patients or by GPs and other hospitals.

We work with Oxford Children’s Hospital as part of the Oxford Southampton paediatric cardiac network. This partnership cares for children from a wide area and receives referrals from 23 district hospitals across the south of England, including the Channel Islands.

Both hospitals provide diagnosis, condition management and outpatient services. If your child requires heart surgery or an interventional procedure such as cardiac catheterisation or a transoesophageal echocardiogram, they will have this in Southampton.

Following your child’s referral to the cardiology team, you will receive an appointment to come to our outpatient department or to ocean ward for assessment. This may include some of the tests and investigations listed below.

Investigations your child may have

What happens next?

The cardiac team meets every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning to formulate and agree individual treatment plans. If your child has been presented for discussion, their cardiologist will inform you about the various treatment options available in writing and/or during an outpatient appointment.

After your child has been discussed in the meeting and accepted for a catheter, they’ll be added to a waiting list. We list patients in order of the urgency of their condition, but generally all procedures are done within 18 weeks. The current waiting time is within eight weeks. If you haven’t heard about a procedure date after this time, please call the booking coordinator Katie King on 023 8120 5382 for an update. We give around three weeks’ notice, and will send you a letter in the post.

If your child needs a heart operation, we'll arrange an appointment for you to meet the cardiac surgeon in the outpatient department. During this appointment the surgeon will explain in detail why the operation is needed, as well as the associated risks, complications and benefits. Following your meeting with the surgeon, you can also meet with one of the children’s cardiac nurse specialists (CCNS). They can show you around Ocean ward and discuss how to prepare your child for surgery, their stay in hospital, recovery, future treatment and follow-up appointments.

After you’ve met the surgeon, your child will be listed for surgery and a member of the team will contact you to discuss a date for your child’s operation. The timescale of when your child’s operation will be is influenced by many factors, including age, weight and clinical priority. The surgeons and cardiologists will make the decision as a group.

Get in touch

If you need to contact us about your child's surgery date or are concerned about their symptoms while they are on the waiting list, please contact us.