A heart diseases during childhood are either congenital or acquired. Most of the children with congenital heart diseases are born with some structuraL defects in the heart. This happens very early in the pregnancy (heart formation is completed by the 7th week of pregnancy), most often even when the mother is not aware of her pregnancy, The normal deveLopment of the heart is affected. The degree of the severity of the problem may vary from a small hole between the ventricles with no significant hemodynamic effects to more complex and serious diseases that may result in schock and collapse.
Is It Common?
The probability of every prospective mother giving birth to a baby with congenital heart disease is 8 in 1000. Today, in risky pregnancies, with the use of 'Fetal Electrocardiography', it is possible to detect major heart anomalies between 16-20 weeks of pregnancy. However, an effective treatment in the womb is not yet available.
Are There Symptoms?
The symptoms change according to the type of disease. Children who have complex and severe forms of congenital diseases manifest themselves in the first couple of months. Some of these patients may present to emergency department short after birth with symptoms of low blood pressure and circulatory collapse. In some babies cyanosis of lips, tongue and nailbeds may be the first symptom. For some other forms of the disease, the baby may present with rapid breathing, shortness of breath, weight loss or poor weight gain or excessive sweating.
Sometimes the child has no complaints but during a routine doctor visit, a 'murmur' is heard in the heart and that is the only symptom. 'Heart Murmur' is an extra sound heard between heartbeats. More than half of murmurs heard in children are 'normal' or 'innocent murmurs', that is to say the heart is totally normal and this murmur does not increases the child's risk for future cardiac problems. Today, in our centre equipped with state of the art technologies and offering contemporary surgical and invasive cardiological management of congenital heart diseases, the treatment of most of these heart defects are carried out with great success.
Group Florence Nightingale Hospital's Health & Magazine - Number : 5