What Are Heart Conditions In Children?
Heart disease is a very broad term for many things that can go wrong with the heart—in both adults and children. Narrow the focus to children, and the term still encompasses many different types of heart conditions in children that range from a condition that has no symptoms and is never diagnosed, to a problem that is severe and potentially life-threatening that is apparent at birth.
If you are looking for information about a specific disease i.e., heart conditions in children, and would like to know more about its symptoms, how the disease develops over time, and how heart conditions in children are treated, the list below is a good place to start. Some of the most common heart conditions in children are listed as either congenital (present from birth) or acquired (developed after birth).
Congenital heart conditions
- Anomalous Coronary Arteries/Fistulas
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
- L-Transposition of the Great Arteries
- Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return
- Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD)
- Tricuspid Atresia
- Truncus Arteriosus
- Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
- Coarctation of the Aorta/Interrupted Aortic Arch
- D-Transposition of the Great Arteries
- Pulmonary Atresia
- Pulmonary Stenosis
- Aortic Stenosis/Bicuspid Aortic Valve
- Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
- Ebstein’s Anomaly
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Vascular Ring/Sling
Acquired heart disease
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy
- Rheumatic Fever
- Kawasaki Disease
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Signs of heart conditions in children
Signs of heart conditions in children vary depending on the condition, the child’s age, and whether or not the heart condition or disease was acquired before the baby was born or during infancy.
Heart conditions in children
Signs of potential heart conditions in children can include:
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Bluish color to the lips, tongue, or nail bed
- Difficulty feeding
- Rapid or rapid breathing, or difficulty breathing, even at rest
- Fatigue easily while eating
- Sweating during breastfeeding
- Call your doctor right away if you notice that your child is showing any of these signs or symptoms
Heart conditions in young children
In young children, look for:
- Loss of consciousness during physical exercise or activity
- Heart palpitations: A heartbeat that seems funny or moody for the child
- Shortness of breath during play or activity
- Chest pain
What causes heart conditions in children?
Sometimes there is a defect in the walls of the heart (such as a hole in the heart) or a problem with the valves (for example, they may be too narrow or completely blocked). This means either that blue and red blood is mixed together, or the heart may not be pumping well. When these problems occur, the body may not get the normal amount of oxygen.
Usually, a heart defect appears while the baby is still growing in the womb. It is not caused by anything the mother did during pregnancy, and doctors often cannot know the cause of the defect. Sometimes, heart problems are caused by genetic factors (there is a family history of heart defects). Sometimes, childhood illnesses damage the heart. Children can develop heart problems after contracting a viral (virus) infection. However, this is extremely rare.
Treatment of heart conditions in children
Once your child’s problem is diagnosed, the next step is to correct it. For some children, immediate intervention will not be necessary. For others, pharmacologic, interventional catheterization, or surgery may be the recommended course of treatment.
- ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors: ACE inhibitors relax arteries throughout the body, lower blood pressure and reduce the workload on the heart. It is useful in treating heart failure and high blood pressure. Medicines commonly used in this class are captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril.
- Antiarrhythmics: A group of medicines used to treat heart rhythm disorders.
- Beta-Blockers: A class of drugs used to treat various disorders related to the circulatory system. These medications slow the effect of adrenaline, slow the heart rate, reduce pressure in blood vessels, and reduce the strength of heart contractions. They are useful for treating heart failure, high blood pressure, and some heart rhythm disorders. It is also used to control migraines and fainting spells. This large group includes propranolol, atenolol, and metoprolol.
- Digoxin: Digoxin (a type of digitalis) is one of the oldest heart medications, it makes the contraction of the heart muscle stronger and more efficient, slows the heart rate, and helps remove excess fluid from the body tissues. It’s sometimes used to treat heart failure and some heart rhythm disorders. Lanoxin is a popular drug in this class.
- Diuretics: In children, diuretics are the medications most commonly used to manage mild to moderate degrees of congestive heart failure. These medications help the body get rid of water and salt. This group includes furosemide (“Lasix”), bumetanide, and spironolactone.
For the many children with heart problems, surgery was the only treatment option. Today, minimally invasive procedures, such as interventional catheters, are often considered the first treatment option and are performed routinely in place of surgery. Interventional catheterization can provide a permanent solution for some conditions or a short-term solution for heart conditions in children who will need surgery later.
Diagnostic vs. Interventional catheterization
What is the difference? In terms of what your child will experience, and how you will prepare for the procedure, there is very little, if any, difference between diagnostic and interventional catheters. In both procedures, thin, flexible catheters are inserted into a vein or artery in the groin area and directed to the heart.
Catheters and balloon stents may be used to open narrowed valves or arteries. There are also special files and devices that are inserted through the catheter, used to block unwanted blood vessels and holes in the wall between the chambers of the heart.
Advanced imaging for earlier diagnosis
Our PCPs and emergency clinics utilize the most recent imaging gear and innovation to rapidly and precisely analyze an assortment of cardiovascular sicknesses, so patients can get therapy as fast as could reasonably be expected.
In the event that your youngster gives indications or manifestations of procured coronary illness, our pediatric cardiologist will probably suggest either an echocardiogram or attractive reverberation imaging of the heart (MRI). An echocardiogram is a non-invasive cardiology procedure that uses sound waves to evaluate the heart’s structure and function. An echocardiogram is used to diagnose and monitor the progression of this heart disease. However, in some cases, the cardiologist may want a more specialized image of your heart called a cardiac MRI. Cardiac MRI can produce 3D images of heart organs and tissues that enable specialists to more accurately evaluate heart function, the extent of the infection, or inflammation of the heart in disorders such as myocarditis.
After your child is treated for a heart defect, he or she will have regular check-ups with the cardiologist and/or pediatrician. For problems not related to their heart, they can still see your GP. If you are concerned about your child, talk to your child’s doctor, pediatrician, or cardiologist.