Heart

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is a type of heart disease that children are born with, usually caused by heart defects that are present at birth. In fact, the most common heart conditions found in children are structural heart defects, which occur in roughly eight of 1,000 live births. These usually involve a problem with the heart muscle or the heart valves and include:

  • Heart valve conditions, such as a narrowing of the aortic valve, or a mitral valve prolapse, in which the mitral valve leaks
  • Defects in the septum, the wall that separates the left and right sides of the heart Other congenital heart defects that affect children include:
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (hlhs), where the left side of the heart is underdeveloped
  • Holes in the heart, typically in the walls between the chambers and between major blood vessels leaving the heart. Examples include ventricle heart defects, atrial septal defects, and patent ductus ateriosus. Congenital heart defects may have long-term effects on a child's health. They're usually treated with surgery, catheter procedures, medications, and in severe cases, heart transplants. Some children will require lifelong monitoring and treatment.

Symptoms

Serious congenital heart defects usually become evident soon after birth or during the first few months of life. Signs and symptoms could include:

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  • Pale gray or blue skin color (cyanosis)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Flared nostrils
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
  • Shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain.

Less serious congenital heart defects may not be diagnosed until later in childhood, because your child may not have any noticeable signs of a problem. If signs and symptoms are evident in older children, they may include:

  • Easily becoming short of breath during exercise or activity
  • Easily tiring during exercise or activity
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet

How heart defects develop

During the first six weeks of pregnancy, the heart begins taking shape and starts beating. The major blood vessels that run to and from the heart also begin to form during this critical time during gestation.

It's at this point in your baby's development that heart defects may begin to develop. Researchers aren't sure exactly what causes most of these defects, but they think genetics, certain medical conditions, some medications and environmental factors, such as smoking, may play a role.

Types of heart defects

There are many different types of congenital heart defects, falling mainly into these categories:

  • Holes in the heart
  • Obstructed blood flow
  • Abnormal blood
  • Heart valve abnormalities.

Treatments

  • Open-heart surgery. In some cases, your child's doctor can't fix your child's heart defect using a catheter procedure. In these cases, your child may need surgery to repair the defect.

 

The type of surgery your child needs depends on the extent of the defect. For some congenital heart defects, such as holes in the heart, minimally invasive heart surgery may be an option. However, congenital heart defects are usually corrected using open-heart surgery.

These surgeries are major medical procedures and may require a significant recovery time for your child.

 

  • Heart transplant. If a serious heart defect can't be repaired, a heart transplant may be an option.
  • Medications. Some mild congenital heart defects, especially those found later in childhood or adulthood, can be treated with medications that help the heart work more efficiently. And,

 

sometimes, congenital heart defects can't be operated on, or can't be completely repaired. In these cases, medication may be an option.

"The good news is that with advances in medicine and technology, many children with heart disease go on to live active, full lives"

The all information presented here is general from the sources of online, so please consult a doctor for any further details.

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