Congenital Heart Disease In Kids – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments You Should Be Aware Of


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Has your child recently been diagnosed with certain health conditions? Have the doctors hinted at any heart-related concerns that have you worried? Well, if you can relate to the above situations reading this post may be of help.

There are various health conditions that can be present at the time of birth but show up only later. Have you heard about a congenital heart disease? If you are clueless and anxious look no further! Go ahead and give this article a read to know all about this critical condition.

What Is Congenital Heart Disease In Children?

A congenital heart disease is also called congenital heart defect (CHD) or congenital heart anomaly. It refers to the condition where there is some defect in the structure of the infant’s heart and the vessels that help in the flow of blood to and from the heart. Your child may have been diagnosed with a congenital heart disease now, even though the condition was present at the time of birth (1).

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What Are The Various Kinds Of Congenital Heart Defects In Children?

In the case of a congenital heart disease, the heart is not able to form properly before birth. It prevents normal blood flow to and from the heart. Congenital heart disease can be simple as well as complex. Here are some of the various types of congenital heart diseases: (2)

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Simple Congenital Heart Defects:

The following heart-related conditions are called simple congenital heart defects:

1. Hole In The Heart: It is also called a septal defect. The septum is like a wall that separates the heart chambers on the left side and the right side. It prevents the blood from both sides to mix up. In the case of holes in the heart, the blood from both sides can mix.

2. Atrial Septal Defect (ASD): In this condition, there is a hole in that part of the septum that separates the atria. It causes the blood to flow in a direction other than where it should. Symptoms are very few and rare in this condition.

3. Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD): In this condition, there is a hole in that part of the septum that separates the ventricles. It causes the blood to flow in a direction other than where it should.

4. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA): It is a very common heart defect that occurs soon after a baby’s birth. The condition causes an abnormal blood flow between the aorta and pulmonary artery.

5. Valve Related Defects: There are various congenital heart diseases related to the valves. These are:

  • Stenosis is a condition in which the flaps of the valve thicken and the valve cannot open properly.
  • Atresia is a condition in which the valve does not have a hole through which the blood can pass.
  • Regurgitation is a condition in which the valve cannot close properly, and blood can leak.

Complex Congenital Heart Defects:

The following heart-related condition is called a complex congenital heart defect:

1. Tetralogy Of Fallot: It is a combination of the four heart defects:

  • Pulmonary valve stenosis.
  • Large VSD
  • An aorta placed directly over the VSD.
  • Right ventricular hypertrophy.

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What Causes Congenital Heart Disease?

According to experts, it is believed that a fetus develops congenital heart disease during the fifth week of pregnancy. Around this time, the fetus develops into the shape of a fully developed heart. Factors that can lead to this condition are: (3)

  • Genetic complications.
  • If the baby is affected with The Down’s Syndrome.
  • The Turner Syndrome.
  • The Noonan Syndrome.
  • Diabetes at the time of pregnancy.
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • Rubella also known as German measles.
  • Flu.
  • Various medications.

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Symptoms Of Congenital Heart Disease In Children:

Here are the symptoms for simple as well as complex cases: (4)

Symptoms of simple congenital heart disease include:

  • Your child may suffer shortness of breath during a physical activity or exercise.
  • You may notice a swelling in your child’s hands, feet or ankle.
  • Your child may feel easily tired while performing a physical activity or exercise.

Symptoms of complex congenital heart disease may be diagnosed during the first few months or years and include:

  • Your child may have a pale or bluish tint on the skin.
  • You may notice the flaring of his nostrils.
  • Shortness of breath during feeding.
  • Your child may be making a grunting sound while breathing. He may also be breathing rapidly.
  • Swelling in the areas around the eyes, in the legs or abdomen.

Treatment For Congenital Heart Disease In Children:

In the case of simple heart defects, your child may not require any treatment. Your doctor will most likely prescribe regular check-ups to monitor your child’s health. In more severe cases, your child may require surgery and lifelong monitoring by a heart specialist (5).

Some of the congenital heart diseases in children can easily go away with simple medication and monitoring. In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. Rest assured, speak to your child’s doctor and understand all the aspects that a surgery or hospitalization may involve.

Remember, as a parent, you have to be calm and not panic. Your reactions will help put your child at ease and make the treatment procedure more effective. Worry is a natural reaction, so do resolve all your queries by consulting your doctor.

We understand the sensitivity of this situation. We would appreciate if you could share any experience or advice that could be of great help to other moms over here.

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