Congenital heart disease is one of the most common birth defects in newborns. It generally refers to all diseases related to heart function. “Congenital” means that it is an innate defect that is present at birth. The following are common questions about childhood heart disease:
Why do congenital heart disease occur?
The cause of congenital heart disease is unknown, but several factors have been identified as risk factors that will increase the chance of suffering from congenital heart disease, as follows:
- Pregnant women suffering from inflammatory diseases such as German measles during pregnancy
- Pregnant women suffer from Type 1 and 2 diabetes but cannot control it well
- Patients with Down’s syndrome, which will affect the physical development and learning ability of newborns
- Other chromosomal defects
Many fetal congenital heart abnormalities can be diagnosed by ultrasound during the mother’s pregnancy, but not all abnormalities can be detected.
Classification of congenital heart disease
There are many types of congenital heart disease, sometimes accompanied by complications and various complex conditions. The more common types are as follows:
- Holes in the heart usually occur between the ventricles and atria.
- Aortic stenosis, especially a narrower aorta than is typical for newborns.
- Arterial malformation and misalignment, aorta, pulmonary artery or aortic valve develop abnormally and cross position.
- Pulmonary artery stenosis, a narrowing of the outlet of the right ventricle on the lower right side of the heart, results in less blood flow to the lungs, less gas sent to the lungs for exchange, and less oxygenated blood returning to the left heart.
Signs and symptoms of congenital heart disease
- Shortness of breath
- Heartbeat too fast
- Cyanosis, a bluish tint to the skin or mucous membranes
- excessive sweating
- Extremely tired and weak
- Feeling particularly weak or breathless when feeding
The above problems will appear when the baby is born, and minor defects may not affect normal life in the future.
Can congenital heart disease be cured?
Treatment of congenital heart disease depends on the severity of the clinical condition. Minor defects, such as atrial and ventricular diaphragmatic defects, generally heal naturally with age, do not require special treatment or surgery, and will not cause problems in future life.
Invasive treatments such as surgery are suitable for severe cases. Today’s medical treatment is very advanced and can correct most abnormalities. 80% of children with congenital heart disease can successfully grow into adults.
People with complex symptoms may need medication throughout their lives, and they will need specialized care from pediatric cardiologists and adult cardiologists. People with more severe cases may not be able to live a normal life because their lives will be restricted. These care plans need to be formulated through discussions between the parents of the sick child, the patient, and cardiologists.
Giving birth to a child with congenital heart disease is extremely worrying for parents. However, today’s medical technology and equipment can diagnose most cardiovascular and vascular structural problems in advance, but accidents always happen, and no diagnosis can be guaranteed to be 100% correct. It is somewhat comforting to know that most children with congenital heart disease can live happy and relatively healthy lives with proper follow-up and careful care by their families.