Is your Child a Cardiac Kid?

I received an e-mail from a nice person who can’t understand why I use the term Cardiac Kid. He’s not sure if I’m making fun of young CHD patients (NEVER!) or if perhaps I just don’t -to paraphrase my father – realize the seriousness of the situation. So I thought that it would be best to explain:

The phrase Cardiac Kid is not new, nor is my invention. Various Congenital Heart Defect programs around the United States (and at least one in Canada) use the phrase to refer to children with heart defects, and at least one hospital uses the word “cardiac” as an acronym for their acquired heart disease in children program.

“The Cardiac Kids” was also the nickname given to the 1980 Cleveland Browns and the 1982-83 North Carolina State men’s basketball program. Both teams were known for fighting back against seemingly impossible odds. In my opinion, that’s the perfect description of a CHD survivor!

I remember that during my childhood (especially the early years) I heard the phrase “You shouldn’t” or “You can’t” just a little too often. Yes, whomever told me that was concerned about me, and I eventually appreciated it. But it always seemed so negative and limiting. So I use the term “Cardiac Kid” to show CHD children that while they are different, that’s not always a bad thing. Being different can also mean you are unique; after all, only 1 out of every 125 people earn the title “Cardiac Kids!” So we all have to stick together and help each other out.

So how do you feel? Do you consider Cardiac Kid to be offensive?


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5 Responses to “Is your Child a Cardiac Kid?”

  1. Vanessa Says:

    Not at all. I think it’s rather uplifting after reading your post. I think I’ll start using that phrase more often. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wendy Says:

    Not at all! We’ve used it from day one. I prefer to say “he’s a cardiac kid” rather than “a child with heart defects”. I think it sounds better, more positive somehow as the word defect has never quite sat right with me when describing a child or anyone for that matter. I certainly have never taken offense to the term!

    Keep up the great posts, I have really really learned a lot from you!


  3. Katie Says:

    Doesn’t bother me at all either! I always refer to my daughter as a “cardiac patient” when referring to her CHDs. I’m proud of this title with her! Thanks for your great, informative posts. I always enjoy reading them and have also learned much from your website.

  4. Christina Davis Says:

    I like cardiac kid. In fact since Jacob’s heart is “repaired” (at least to structurally correct) I find it hard to know the exact verbiage for explaining his heart and usually end up saying “he was born with a heart defect” (I can not say he has Transposition because he no longer has the arteries transposed). So being able to say he is a cardiac kid is a great alternative!

    Momma to Jacob (TGA)

  5. Eliza Says:

    It never bothered me until I was an adult.

    As an adult, it bothers me because I’m not a kid! (and as Steve knows I could occasionally be mistaken for a kid – I’m 27, but just under 5 feet, youthful appearance, etc.)

    I don’t know if I ever heard the word cardiac very much when I was little – it was always “heart operation,” “heart problem,” etc., but I don’t consider the term offensive in the least… unless it’s applied to an adult! 🙂

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