What is congenital heart disease?
Congenital heart disease is a problem with the structure of the heart. It is at birth. Defects include the walls of the heart, the heart valves, and the arteries and veins near the heart. These interrupt the normal flow of blood through the heart. Blood flow may slow down, go in the wrong direction or the wrong place, or be completely blocked.
Is congenital heart disease an elective or an emergency procedure?
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect, affecting approximately 125 live births. Advances in medical care have enabled 90% of these children to live to adulthood. Children with coronary heart disease are more prone to childhood illnesses than healthy children and therefore require selective and emergency surgery at their local hospital. In general, children with coronary artery disease who undergo non-cardiac surgery have an increased risk of disease, perioperative cardiac arrest, and 30-day mortality.
However, it is impossible to generalize the complexity of heart defects and the different types of heart surgery. A 9-year-old child with a repaired atrial septal defect (ASD) has a lower risk of requiring an emergency appendectomy; However, a 12-year-old boy with failed mono ventricular conduction for the same operation presents a significant challenge to even the most experienced pediatric cardiac anesthetist.
Types of congenital heart disease
Although there are many types of congenital heart defects, they can be divided into three main categories:
- In heart valve defects, direct blood flow can cause the valves within the heart to close or leak. It interferes with the heart’s ability to pump blood properly.
- In heart wall defects, the natural walls on the left and right sides and between the upper and lower chambers of the heart may not develop properly, causing blood to flow back to the heart or pool where it is not. Deficiency puts pressure on the heart to work harder, leading to high blood pressure.
- In vascular disorders, the arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart and the body may not work properly. It can reduce or block blood flow, which can lead to various health problems.
Causes of congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease occurs as a result of an early developmental problem in the structure of the heart. The deficiency generally interferes with the normal flow of blood through the heart, affecting breathing.
Risk factors for congenital heart disease
Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect, occurring in about one percent of live births in the united states. If your baby has a congenital heart defect, you may think you did something wrong during your pregnancy.
However, doctors often do not know why congenital heart defects occur. Researchers know that the risk of having a baby with congenital heart defects is influenced by family history and genetics, maternal health, gender, and exposure to environmental factors such as smoke or certain drugs during pregnancy. Other medical conditions can also increase your risk of having a baby with congenital heart defects.
Signs and symptoms of congenital heart disease
The signs and symptoms are related to the type and severity of the heart defect. Symptoms often appear early in life, but some coronary heart disease goes undiagnosed throughout life. Some children have no symptoms, while others have shortness of breath, cyanosis, epilepsy, a heart murmur, organ and muscle development, poor nutrition or growth, or respiratory infections.
Congenital heart defects cause abnormal heart formation, causing certain sounds called heart murmurs to be produced. These can sometimes be detected by oscillation. However, not all heart murmurs are caused by congenital heart defects.
Diagnosis of congenital heart disease
Some coronary heart diseases can be diagnosed during pregnancy using a specialized ultrasound called a fetal echocardiogram, which creates ultrasound images of the developing baby’s heart. However, some heart conditions are not detected after birth or later in life, until childhood or adolescence. If the doctor suspects coronary heart disease, the baby may receive various tests (such as an echocardiogram) to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for congenital heart disease
You may not need treatment. Or you may need medicine, surgery, or other procedures. If you have congenital heart disease, you should see a cardiologist every day.
People with congenital heart defects are more likely to have inflammation of the lining of the heart (condition doctors call endocarditis), especially if their heart has been repaired or replaced by surgery.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs.
- Check with your GP or pharmacist before taking any medications during pregnancy, as they include herbal and over-the-counter medications.
- Take 400 micrograms of the folic acid supplement per day during the first trimester (first 12 weeks) of your pregnancy – this will reduce the risk of giving birth to a baby with congenital heart disease, as well as many other types of birth defects.
- Make sure you are vaccinated against rubella and the flu (influenza).
- Avoid exposure to organic solvents such as dry cleaning, paint thinner, and nail polish remover.
Complications of congenital heart disease occurring a few years after treatment:
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia): An arrhythmia occurs when the electrical signals that coordinate your heartbeat don’t work properly. Your heart may beat too fast, too slow, or irregular. In some people, severe arrhythmia can lead to stroke or sudden cardiac death if left untreated. Scar tissue in your heart from previous surgeries can contribute to this problem.
- Pulmonary hypertension: This is high blood pressure that affects the arteries in your lungs. Some congenital heart defects send more blood to the lungs, causing increased pressure. This can eventually weaken your heart muscle and sometimes fail.
- Heart failure: Heart failure (circulatory heart failure) means that your heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body. Some types of congenital heart disease can lead to heart failure.
Department to consult for this condition
- Department of Cardiology